Incorrect ventilation control is costing farmers “thousands of pounds” annually through poorer growth rates, feed conversion and health issues say specialist pig house manufacturers, ARM Buildings.
According to the company’s environment specialist, Tim Miller, there are many, but often quite simple, reasons why pig buildings don’t run to their intended efficiency.
“Frequently,” he said, “controls have been set up by an electrician who doesn’t fully understand the calibrations needed to regulate fans and heaters to meet the needs of the pigs, sometimes very young pigs at a critical stage of their lives.
“In addition, stockmen may alter the controls without realising the full implications of the effects it may have, which may mean the building is not running at optimum efficiency.
“We’ve seen farmers being told to get more air into a weaner building and this can result in the heating being on for long periods of time, without the building ever reaching the set temperature, all of which can be both inefficient and expensive.”
Although the remote monitoring of buildings is now playing an increasingly important role on many farms, he added, there is no replacement for physically going into the building and seeing what’s happening.
“You can tell when settings appear strange and cause anomalies,” he said, adding that since ARM introduced their housing “MOT” programme earlier this year he’d been called to check piggeries all over the country, with many farmers now wanting yearly visits.