Controlling Air Quality for Better Swine Health

CANADA - The president of Armco Solutions suggests controlling relative humidity is key to maintaining optimum air quality and controlling energy costs, especially during the winter, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 17 February 2015
clock icon 3 minute read

Research has shown we can provide increased swine health when we provide improved indoor air quality which means improved feed intake, improved average daily gain, improved days to market and reduced respiratory infections.

Mark Armstrong, the president of Armco Solutions, told those on hand last week for the 2015 Manitoba Swine Seminar in Winnipeg the biggest air quality challenges occur during the winter when we're not moving a lot of air but are instead trying to heat that air and we don't want to heat any more than we really need to.

Mark Armstrong-Armco Solutions:

It is a balancing point, how much do we use and how much do we gain here?

A few things that we do look at, one is our relative humidity. That's a great indicator of providing optimum indoor air quality, especially during the winter time. Our percentage of humidity that we should be trying to target is somewhere in the 50 per cent range. Humidity is a moving target.
It's not like temperature that is quite defined.

As the pigs respire more, as they're more active or if they're sleeping it can change by 20 to 25 per cent in a given day so we're looking for that range somewhere in between the 40 to 60, 50 to 70, that's kind of the sweet spot of balancing and maximizing our energy efficiency with our indoor air quality. That's done during the winter time.

In the summer time we're just moving lots of air and heat isn't a problem any more. We're generally not heating. But now we're usually providing a cooling benefit at least for the larger animals and now we've got other things that we look at but certainly in the winter time our balance point for indoor air quality is looking at our humidity and that's controlled by our minimum ventilation.

Mr Armstrong says we need to find that balance.

He suggests control your relative humidity and air quality in the winter and make sure the proper amounts of air are being moved in the summer.

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