Purina Animal Nutrition introduces the Heat Stress Manager for Sows application for smart phones. This free tool provides heat stress prevention tips and resources to producers, helping them to avoid seasonal production lulls.
"Sows can become heat stressed at temperatures lower than producers may think," says Vern Pearson, Ph.D., swine nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition. "Producers need to look at both the temperature and the humidity inside the facility to determine the potential for heat stress."
The Heat Stress Manager for Sows app features a heat stress calculator for inputting the current temperature and humidity readings. Purina Animal Nutrition recommends producers install a thermometer and hygrometer in the sow barn to read these temperatures at the location of the sows. After inputting these readings into the app, the temperature and humidity are translated into a Temperature-Humidity Index reading that shows the severity of heat stress, ranging from mild to extreme risk. Research shows that sows can begin to feel the impact of heat stress at a Temperature-Humidity Index of 80.
"Sows that are heat stressed have a greater potential to experience seasonal infertility, smaller litter sizes, decreased embryo survival rates and death losses," Pearson said. "But the most common impact of heat stress is decreased feed intake; therefore, ration changes that promote feed intake may be needed as Temperature-Humidity Index levels increase."
In addition to the heat stress calculator, the mobile app offers management and nutrition tips to mitigate heat stress. The Heat Stress Manager for Sows mobile app is available to download for Android phones at the Google Play website, and for iPhones at the iTunes website.