It is a common practice for pig producers to keep the temperatures in nursery barns at a warm temperatures, particularly during times when piglets are active and awake. But keeping the barn warm during the night hours while the animals are asleep may not be as important as some might think, said Sean Francy, Val-Co product manager.
Francy spoke on swine ventilation management topics January 29 at the VIV International Pork Production Summit, held in conjunction with the 2014 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta.
From 2009 to 2011, the University of Missouri, with cooperation from universities in Ohio, South Dakota and Canada, conducted a study to see what kind of impact lowering barn temperatures during the evening hours would have. "What happens if we follow the same theory the utility companies give us when they tell us to turn down the temperature at night when we're sleeping," Francy asked.
The temperatures were dropped from 33C to 22C in nursery barns with piglets five days old and older. This was done in operations with varying sizes of nurseries.
"Across the board what they found out was there was no difference in how those pigs grew. We had no increase in mortality, no increase in morbidity, but we had a fuel savings of close to 30 percent and an electrical savings of 19 percent," he said.
The piglets were apparently able to still get sufficient heat while not active, but huddled together and sleeping, Francy said.