Foaming in swine manure pits has become a serious safety concern in the last several years. By reducing pit capacity, foaming manure poses a serious management problem. Even more urgent, however, is the safety threat that foam creates. By trapping large amounts of explosive gas (methane), foam creates the high potential for fires and explosions, especially when the foam is destroyed, such as during agitation and pumping. PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION when agitating and pumping, or spraying to reduce foam: maintain ventilation rates and turn off ignition sources, such as pilot lights. Maintain ventilation even when the room is emptied of animals: a number of explosions have occurred when methane concentrations built up after ventilation was stopped as pigs were removed.
Foaming manure spilling out of pumpout.
Barn with foaming manure, after explosion. Roof blew off and settled back down.
While some amount of foaming may be typical in manure storages, the type of foam that is currently causing problems is a persistent, occasionally very fast-growing substance that has a mucus-like texture. View a video of the type of foam we are concerned about.
- Foaming Manure Pits — David Schmidt — Presented to Iowa Manure Applicators January 2011.
- Pit Foaming- What have we Learned? — David Schmidt, University of Minnesota, Minnesota Pork Congress 2010 Swinecast
- Pit Pumping Safety — Jay Harmon, Iowa State University
- Update on Deep Pit Foaming — Robert Burns, Iowa State University
- Producer Survey: If you are a swine producer and concerned about foaming and fires please assist University Researchers in their efforts to find solutions to this very serious problem by filling out this short survey.
- Safety Alert—Explosions in Swine Confinement Barns While Pumping Pits (PDF) — Minnesota Grain and Feed Association
- Fires and Foam what have we learned? — Iowa Pork Congress/Swinecast., Dr. Robert Burns and Dr. Larry Jacobson
- Preparing Swine Barns to Sit Empty (136 K PDF) — University of Minnesota Extension Service, Mark Whitney
- Emergency Ventilation for Hog Barns — Swine Consultancy, Mike Brumm — Adobe Connect | (4.93 MB PDF Version)
- Pit Pumping Guidelines (198 K PDF) — Iowa State University, Mike Brumm and Jay Harmon
- Emergency Action Plans (2.33 MB PDF) — Minnesota Pork Board
- Printable Door Tags (43 K PDF) — Minnesota Pork Board