It costs more to run a farrowing house in summer than in winter, mainly due to the extra ventilation which is needed when it’s hot.
According to ARM Buildings, it costs an average of about £1.34 a sow per week in winter, a figure which rises to £1.50 in the summer.
The cost of ventilation nearly triples from 12p in winter to 34p per sow per week in the summer, revealed the company, more than offsetting the fact that lighting usage increases during the winter months.
“We would have expected farrowing houses to cost more to run in the winter,” said ARM’s environmental specialist, Tim Miller. “However, well-insulated modern buildings are very heat-efficient during the winter. In summer, in contrast, excess heat has to be removed if sows are to retain their appetites and milk well.”
ARM has been fitting data loggers as standard to its pig buildings since 2008, which is why the company now has such detailed information available.
“Pig farmers obviously need to know what their costs are and where they are incurred,” said Mr Miller. “Monitoring can also give an early warning of any problems.
“On one farm, for example, we found costs increased to £3.50 a sow per week. This was due to heat lamps being left on full for two weeks after farrowing, in addition to the normal heat pads.”