Proper barn ventilation is important year-round, but especially during winter months to protect swine health and promote energy efficiency.
“Ventilation is not always top of mind for many producers heading into winter,” says Austin Zimmerman, sales engineer for AP, a manufacturer of swine production equipment. “But it’s a crucial time to assure good air quality and avoid any pockets of gas.”
Zimmerman offers the following recommendations:
- Controller settings – Ensure that barn environmental controls are set properly for the winter season, including inlet openings, fan speeds and different ventilation staging. “Check that inlets allow the right amount of air into the barn, based on fan speed and the amount of CFM being pulled out of the building,” he advises.
- Check inlet operation – Inspect inlets for any blockage, damage or wear that may prevent normal air flow. “Be sure inlet mechanisms are greased and respond correctly to the control inputs,” Zimmerman adds. “If not, an inlet calibration or reset may be necessary.”
- Fan maintenance – Inspect fans to confirm they are in good working condition and that fan belts have the proper tension. Also, confirm that fan shutters are in good working condition.
- Temperature sensors – Ensure that all temperature sensors are working correctly, as these regulate the operation of fans and heaters. If one sensor is not working, replacing it is optimal. Otherwise, simply remove it, as the remaining sensors can still function.
Zimmerman notes that proper ventilation not only promotes swine health and productivity, but also provides an economic benefit for producers. “Too much cold air entering the barn during winter can cause excessive use of heaters, wasting propane.”
AP offers ventilation equipment audits on-farm or remotely to help producers create a better environment for their staff and animals, as well as reduce energy costs. Results of the audit, which are offered for AP as well as competitor systems, are presented in a written report with recommendations for corrections or improvements.
On-farm audits provide not only ventilation settings based on fans and inlets, but also specific solutions for the operation. Controller training is also available at producer sites and at AGCO facilities in Assumption and Taylorville, Ill.; Sioux City, Iowa; Jackson, Minn.; and Omaha, Neb.
For additional information, visit automatedproduction.com.