How do you prevent your buildings from deteriorating so quickly?

The Prairie Swine Centre and the University of Saskatchewan investigate rapid deterioration of pig buildings and potential mitigation strategies to prolong the lifespan of Canadian swine facilities
calendar icon 18 October 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

When we look across the Canadian pork industry it becomes apparent that due to the age of most facilities, a large percentage will need to be replaced or renovated over the next few years. Most buildings average between 20-30 years old. The majority of hog barns are completely enclosed utilising a negative pressure ventilation system to maintain pig comfort. In order to reduce heating costs during winter months ventilation is generally turned down to a minimum ventilation rate. The combination of minimum ventilation and, in some areas high winds, causes exhaust air to recirculate within the facility leading to poor air quality. This in turn increases deterioration due to increased exposure to moisture and corrosive gases. This project set out to determine Canadian specific strategies for decreasing the current pace of barn deterioration.

With the overall focus of this project being to combat the rate of deterioration of swine facilities a critical literature review was under taken that identified solutions that were applicable to Canadian pig barns. The second phase of the project included a survey which was presented to various stakeholder groups across Canada. The survey included producers, builders, material and equipment suppliers and academic and research and development organisations.

The survey revealed that approximately 60% of producers struggle with rapid deterioration. Specifically, the structural components that they had issues with were: roofing (50% of the respondents); penning/ stalls (50%); exterior walls (40%); ceilings, trusses and/or attic, and feeding and drinking system (30%). No significant issues with accelerated deterioration have been identified in partition walls between two rooms, manure and drainage system, and barn foundations.

When considering all the potential strategies to mitigate building deterioration, it was apparent that considering appropriate ventilation, environmental control and air building materials, and adequate building maintenance would have the greatest impact within Canadian swine facilities. These strategies still need to be evaluated in a barn to determine their full potential in increasing the lifespan of Canadian swine facilities.

Read the full study here

As reported by The Prairie Swine Centre

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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