The Truth About Poultry Ammonia in the Summer

Are you one of the many growers or live production personnel who believe that ammonia is simply not an issue when brooding during the summer months? Even with the increase in litter age and bird size over the last few years, many growers still think that somehow the air is fresh at ground level because the fans run so much when it’s hot outside. Field surveys tell us another story.

In the summer of 1999, a nationwide air quality survey of over 300 houses was conducted to get a sense for brooding conditions in hot weather. Surveyed within 24 hours of chick placement, only 37% of the tested houses had ammonia levels in the safe range (below 25 PPM). Amazingly, 53% of the houses were above 50 PPM! None of the houses tested had been treated with a litter amendment and the chicks could tell you that the air was far from fresh.

Since then, a lot has changed in terms of litter management and bird size. The survey was repeated in the summer of 2009 to gauge the difference in air quality. In the 10 years since the first survey, many growers and integrators had learned that litter needs to be treated year-round due to changing litter management practices and bigger birds.

Due to this realization, PLT® was used in 42% of the 251 houses tested. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of those PLT® treated houses had ammonia levels below 25 PPM. In the untreated houses, a measly 32% has levels below 25 PPM and 27% of the untreated houses had ammonia levels above 50 PPM—in the summertime!

The evidence is clear. Ammonia is a significant problem in poultry houses even during the summer, and if you want to achieve ammonia levels below 25 PPM, only PLT® will get you there!