How Green are Your Creeps?

UK - The UK pig industry could save nearly 32.5 million a year simply by enclosing creep areas in the farrowing house. In addition, it could reduce CO2 emissions by 15,000 tonnes, thereby making a positive contribution to environmental change.
calendar icon 3 April 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

Curtained creeps cut CO2 emissions and save large amounts of energy, says Farmex director, Nick Bird

This estimate comes from Nick Bird, director of Reading-based specialist energy-control company, Farmex, after studying energy savings achieved by the simple task of adding curtains to creeps on an already-efficient 300-sow pig unit in East Anglia.

That farm showed savings of 360 per farrowing place per year, equivalent to 22 tonnes of CO2. Total savings were 33,600 a year, but additional labour costs for cleaning and maintaining the curtains only amounted to 3330, compared with the lids-only system.

“Higher labour costs shouldn’t be seen as a reason for avoiding enclosing creeps and using heat pads in the farrowing houses of pig farms,“ commented Nick Bird. “Labour only amounted to 22 minutes per pen per year.

“Difficulties in viewing piglets and cleaning are also given as the main reasons for not closing-in creep areas. But the stockmen suggested that observing piglets in creeps enclosed with clear plastic curtains was, in fact, easier as the piglets tend to lay out more evenly and not huddle in a pile.“

He suggested that, nationally, there are still 40,000 poorly-enclosed creeps, wasting over 27 GigaWatt Hours of electricity, worth 32.4 million.

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