Increasing temperatures in spring and summer cause sow body temperatures to rise along with them. Prior to farrowing, ideal ambient temperature for sows is 65-68°F. At the time of farrowing, the target is 72°F. Excess heat can cause stress, which can cause costly problems, including a drop in feed intake, particularly during lactation. When sows lose body weight, it can impact pig weaning weight, farrowing rate and litter size.
During lactation, producers can help reduce the effects of excess heat by carefully managing diets and water consumption. However, ventilation plays the main role in reducing heat. Because pigs lack sweat glands to cool themselves, sows and gilts rely on environmental forces, such as evaporative cooling, stir fans and water droppers in farrowing rooms, to feel comfortable.
Despite advanced computer controlled systems, achieving the desired environmental conditions still requires careful oversight by the husbandman. Simply observing pigs can tell you a lot about whether the room is properly ventilated. For example, pigs shivering or piled together are a sign of pigs that are too cool due to drafts, damp floors or excessive ventilation. In hot weather, it’s most important to look for signs of heat stress, which can include lethargy, increased respiration (panting), increased water consumption, and intestinal distress.
When the pigs are telling you that they are uncomfortable, efforts should be made to find out why. Proper air movement and the efficiency of the ventilation system can be assessed by smoking the facility in order to visualize directional airflow. Often equipment maintenance is needed to achieve ideal air flow in terms of both dire.
Focus on Maintenance to Maximize Ventilation Efficiency
To properly maintain ventilation equipment and improve air quality, follow these steps:
- Clean all exhaust fan blades and shutters on both sides to remove dust buildup and ensure they can open and close completely. After thorough cleaning, apply SWASHDUST-REPEL™ to improve the ability to clean equipment and prevent dust build-up for the next group.
- Help lower relative humidity in the building by repairing all leaking nipples and water lines.
- Clean up manure and urine to reduce humidity and ammonia.
- Calibrate temperature and humidity sensors to make sure the computer controller is receiving good input as damage can occur over time due to dust, moisture or ammonia. Replace faulty sensors as needed.
To Maximize Air Flow and Evaporative Cooling Capacity, Focus on Cool Cells
Careful management of cool cell pad integrity and cleanliness is one of the most effective ways of ensuring proper airflow, temperature and efficiency. Cool cells should be checked for winter damage, blockages and air leaks. Minimum air speed should be about 420 ft./min. using an anemometer or windspeed meter to measure the speed of air as it comes through the cool cell to determine efficiency.
To clean the cool cell pads:
- Dump dirty water and remove any debris from the sump
- Check all pump screens, filters and pads for cleanliness and signs of damage, replacing if necessary
- Use low-pressure water to rinse both sides of each pad, and clean all frames and gutters
- Flush the entire system with clean water and ensure proper distribution to every part of the cool cell pads
- Add 1 gallon of SWASHCOOL-CELL™ to the sump water for every 20 feet of cool cell length to remove mineral scale and algae stains and keep them from building up on the pads.
Boost Cool Cell Maintenance with SWASHCOOL-CELL™
To improve performance and protect your system while you're using it, use SWASHCOOL-CELL™. SWASHCOOL-CELL™ helps limit the amount of cleaning and maintenance needed by balancing water pH and using dispersants to force dirt to disperse in the water and keep it from clogging your pads. The product is odorless, easy-to-use, safe, and works quickly for a clean, balanced, and efficient system.
Learn more about SWASHCOOL-CELL™ now.