As autumn arrives Alltech is encouraging swine producers to keep air quality in check as they prepare their facilities for the change in seasons.
“Just as with the summer heat, the fall/winter season also requires proper ventilation,” said Russell Gilliam, U.S. swine business manager for Alltech. “During colder months, a balance to keep air moving, without causing abnormal temperature changes in the barn, must be met.”
According to Gilliam, an effective air quality program for hog facilities should include the following procedures:
- Determine all fans are in working order. Clean fan blades, check the motors and make sure the fan’s thermostat works.
- Examine fan blades and louvers for damage and rust, and replace them if they are older than 10- to 15-years old.
- Pay close attention to curtains to make sure they close securely and that all debris or equipment are cleaned up and put away before snowfall.
- Check propane tanks for leaks and then test all supplemental heat sources for proper function.
- Examine your rodent control program.
Swine Operators may also want to consider using a red additive to address ammonia. The toxic gas can damage the respiratory tract and easily become a chronic problem in the barn, leading to stillbirths, boar taint, tail biting, and respiratory diseases as well as problem for humans. Overfeeding nutrients and reduced ventilations can contribute to poor air quality.
“Reduced airflow and increased ammonia levels are inevitable in the barn during the fall/winter months. Producers need to make sure their barns can get through the long winter and prevent respiratory disease and health problems for both their herd and their employees,” Gilliam said. “Embracing new technologies and developing a management plan can help swine operations handle these cold weather challenges effectively.”