A UK-based pig construction company that has been in business for 35 years has started installing special environmental data loggers as standard in all its new buildings. As a result, officials say, producers will be able to monitor how new buildings are maintaining the ideal environment inside, in terms of temperature, ventilation rate, heater use, water consumption and so forth.
“We are confident that our buildings provide an optimum environment for the pigs, so we are prepared to include this device free-of-charge to enable their performance to be independently checked,” says Mike McLaughlin, managing director of the UK-based company ARM Buildings, which manufactures specialised pig buildings for producers in the UK and abroad, including Japan and Germany.
Meter on performance
McLaughlin explains that the new “meter on performance” enables producers to see how their new building functions to maintain the set environment.
Included is after-sales service from the company’s livestock environment specialist, Tim Miller, is able to use the information provided by the logger to sort out any environmental anomalies with the farm staff.
Miller points out that the data loggers can also be adapted to include sensors to take regular readings on weather conditions outside to help the company fine-tune its future buildings to meet any new trends in climate change. He agrees that, with projected global climate trends, it is quite likely that the construction and design of pig buildings will have to change.
“We do need to keep an eye on changing weather patterns and see how they affect the performance of our building and then ascertain how that impacts on the pigs inside,” he says. It is quite likely changes will have to be made to take account of warmer and wetter summers in some pig producing regions, for example.
Hugh Crabtree, managing director of the British company, Farmex, which has been supplying the latest data recoding technology to farmers for in the UK, the EU, Australia and the USA for several years, agrees that changes in the construction and design of pig buildings to account for changes in the weather patterns are likely at some stage.
Must be adapted to changing climates
“Buildings will obviously have to be adapted to help us cope with changing climates. This is already happening in Australia, where many pig buildings already come with built-in showering facilities for pigs. In the Netherlands, they are looking at underfloor cooling systems, piping water through hollow slats to help the pigs stay cooler during the hot weather.”
However, as always, it is vital for companies supplying pig buildings, and producers, to have all relevant data illustrating current conditions in the state-of-art buildings and their current performance record. Then they can start making sensible decisions on the way forward to meet future trends, he says.
Producers buying the new houses in the UK also receive a free 12-month subscription to Barn Report – Farmex’s on-line data retrieval and analytical service – which will highlight any environmental variations.
“Using monitoring, producers can ensure that the environmental controls, as well as the feeding and watering systems supporting the housed pig are working as consistently as they should. Our experience with the system has led us to believe that improvements in performance worth as much as 30% can be achieved,” Crabtree says.