With the advent of spring, pig farmers are being advised to check the ventilation systems in their controlled environment houses as a matter of urgency.
“On the first hot day of the year I get a string of phone calls, often when the emergency siren goes off because piggeries are over-heating,” said Tim Miller environmental specialist with Staffordshire-based ARM Buildings.
“It may be that a fan is not working or that inlet or outlets are sticking due to a build-up of debris or meal dust, so the airflow is insufficient. This is particularly the case when a houseful of finishers is nearing slaughter-weight as the maximum amount of heat is given off at this stage.”
Tim advises producers to set the temperature on the control as low as possible which should trigger the fans to test the system. They then need to walk around the house and check that each fan, and any other hardware is, in fact, working.
Fans should be isolated from the power supply and blades cleaned with water and detergent if necessary — though not with a pressure washer which could damage the electric motor! Similarly, inlets, outlets and back-draught shutters should be checked and cleaned. These may not have opened fully during the whole of the winter months and may have caked-on dirt which will prevent them from functioning properly.
“Finally, check that the siren and alarm system is working otherwise all the good work could be in vain,” he said.