Pig farmers are being urged to check their piggery ventilation systems very carefully, after the long, hot summer – and get expert help if necessary – if problems are to be avoided as the weather cools down.
Tim Miller, environmental specialist at ARM Buildings, said: “Farmers particularly need to inspect their air inlets, that have been wide open for much of the summer, to see that they are not stuck and can be closed down sufficiently for minimum ventilation rates. We are already seeing very cool nights and rapid changes of temperature.
“As well as leading to poor performance, these fluctuations can predispose to health issues or vices.”
Mr Miller said that he had already been called out to deal with problems on many units because of ventilation malfunctions, most of which could have been avoided.
“It’s been manic, so obviously there are widespread problems,” he added.
Build-up of dust and dirt around inlets and backdraught shutters will prevent them functioning properly; on electrical components it could constitute a fire risk.
Record summer temperatures triggered alarm systems on many units so the set temperatures were raised to avoid false-alarms.
“It’s important that these are re-set to a realistic level for the winter and that livestock staff remember to change ventilation and temperature curves from summer to winter settings,” Mr Miller said.
“Farmers really need to consider regular servicing, not only to improve pig performance but also to save money. Linked heating and ventilation systems in weaner-grower houses, especially, may need re-synchronising to avoid expelling expensively warmed air straight out of the house into the atmosphere.”