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Proper Ventilation Calibration Saves on Disease Treatment, Productivity Losses

20 October 2015, at 12:00am

CANADA - The production manager with Pinnacle Swine says properly calibrating swine barn ventilation systems will save money on heating costs and reduce disease, avoiding the costs associated with treatment and lost production, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Preparing for winter with tips on how to save money and keep animals safe by making the most of ventilation was among the topics discussed as part of Alberta Pork's October telephone town hall meeting.

Alastair Bratton, the production manager with Pinnacle Swine, says now is obviously the perfect time of year to be adjusting or calibrating ventilation systems in all barns, sow barns, nurseries or finishing barns.

Alastair Bratton-Pinnacle Swine:

The fall and spring is when our ventilation systems are under the greatest pressure.

They deliver large amounts of air on days when it's 20 degrees outside but then we get zero degrees over night so the ventilation has to be giving us massive amounts of air flow in the day and nothing at night and everything is on minimum speed.

Getting these incorrect can be costly and the settings are the hardest thing to get right.

These costs include, for heating, if we over exhaust and over ventilate our rooms in the barns our heaters have to run more often and gas isn't cheap.

It's cheaper to close an inlet than it is to run a heater. The other thing is disease. Incorrectly ventilated barns always have an increase in disease.

This is normally caused by humidity buildup, the humidity builds up in rooms and this obviously then has a cost for disease so getting it wrong can be costly.

Bratton says, in addition to the obvious costs, that of the drugs used to treat these infections, are the costs that we don't see, those associated with the lower growth rates and death loss which are much harder to measure and which probably have a greater impact on production systems.

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