Distillers grains (DGs) are much higher in sulfur than whole corn, which in turn can lead to manure being higher in hydrogen sulfide levels. That, in turn, can make manure gases more deadly, says Jeannine Schweihofer, a member of Michigan State’s Environment team.
DGs have sulfur concentrations ranging from 0.6% to 1% while normal corn ranges from 0.07% to 0.15%. While researchers have not found hydrogen sulfide levels above OSHA standards at pen floor level, levels in manure storage areas and pits can increase during agitation.
"Never enter the pen or barn if you see problems with animals during pumping," says Schweihofer. "Observe animals from a distance and discontinue agitation at the first sign of trouble. Most human deaths associated with manure removal occur when someone enters a barn or pit that has high levels of hydrogen sulfide."
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"When feeding co-products containing high levels of sulfur, producers are advised to remove additional sources of sulfur from mineral supplements," adds Schweihofer.