Treating swine drinking water

Adjusting pH: Part three in the Hogslat series on proper terminal line disinfection and water disinfection
calendar icon 9 August 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

Jesse McCoy, CWS, Business Unit Specialist, Water Treatment, Neogen Corp

Following proper terminal line disinfection and water disinfection, the next step in a creating a beneficial water programme is modifying the pH. For any animal to reach its full genetic potential, we must manage the water to achieve the correct pH level in its gut. The pH is a measure of acidity and alkalinity. A pH of 7 is neutral; less than 7 is considered acidic and over 7 alkaline. Water pH is a major factor in determining the effectiveness of various water treatments. Adjusting the pH into the acidic range benefits the animal's GI tract by creating a detrimental environment for pathogenic biology. Other research points to improvements in nutritional impacts of feed at lower pH levels with organic (chemically organic – so containing carbon) acids. There may even be benefits we still don’t understand yet with pH reduction in livestock while realising the benefits. The available data reflect these benefits, regardless of their mode of action.

Terminal line disinfection in this research trial was achieved with a 3% solution of Peraside (peracetic acid disinfectant) administered into the lines with a sump pump upon depopulation. The solution sat in the lines overnight and was flushed the next morning with fresh water. All drinkers were triggered to ensure proper function before placing the pigs. Disinfection was achieved with 5ppm of MaxKlor (stabilised chlorine dioxide), and the pH was set to a pH of 6.5 to 6.8 using Dyne-O-Might (blended organic/mineral stabilised with iodine).

Water meters measured flow rates and triggered electric pumps for a precise chemical injection. This equipment ensured every gallon received the targeted treatment even with the small dosing requirements needed. Simple tests with a pH meter, at the drinkers, were used to show the pH level was maintained in the proper range.

By adding pH adjustment to a water treatment programme, the animals can finally move from survival in the barns to thriving and reaching their genetic potential.

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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