While the potential for pit foaming to lead to flash fires, explosions and even deaths exists all-year round, researchers say this time of year presents the greatest challenges for pork producers and site managers.

"We’re just getting into the real foaming season," said Daniel Andersen, assistant professor of agriculture and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University (ISU). "The manure’s the warmest right now; the pits are the fullest. So it’s just a bigger problem right now."

Andersen and other researchers at ISU, the University of Minnesota and the University of Illinois are working to identify the root causes of pit foaming. The Iowa Pork Producers Association allocated $1 million for the three-year study. The researchers are now approaching their second year of the study.

Researchers are looking at feed ingredients, manure temperature, manure pH, disinfectants and man­­ure microbial populations and communities to determine what causes the foaming.

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