Don’t panic – manage piggery ventilation sensibly

Farmers shouldn’t panic but need to be more realistic about their piggery ventilation management during the heat-wave conditions that Britain has been experiencing, according to an environmental specialist.

“Without a cooling system it is impossible to lower temperatures below the ambient. If the outside temperature is over 30°C then it is unrealistic to set the dial to 21°C and expect this temperature to be reached, however hard the fans work,” said Tim Miller of ARM Buildings. “Worse still, this means that the temperature will drop too rapidly on cool nights which may upset the pigs. They don’t appreciate big swings in temperature.”

He said that, whereas in winter the temperature for finishers can be set at 18°C, for summer farmers should adjust the thermostat to 23°C, which will mean the building is well ventilated without the rapid swings in temperature.

The initial priority, Mr Miller said, is to ensure the emergency ventilation system and alarm systems are working. It is important that the alarm system is set at a sensible level to avoid false-alarms. Farmers should then check fans, shutters baffles and inlets to ensure they are clean and operating properly.

He added: “We have found that ventilation monitoring has been an invaluable tool in hot weather. If a piggery has six rooms and one has abnormal temperatures, then this suggests a problem.

“Liv Hartshorn, ARM data services assistant, constantly checks the information fed in through the Barn Report system, which the company supplies, and has picked up many such anomalies, usually before even the farmer has noticed and this has proved a huge benefit.”


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