Advancing Swine Comfort: Cooling Pads Transform Duroc Boars’ Summer Response

In a recent study led by experts from Purdue University, IHT Group, and Pig Improvement Company Inc., a breakthrough in swine comfort has been uncovered. The research focused on understanding how Duroc boars handle the summer heat, introducing a game-changing solution—Electronically Controlled Floor Cooling Pads (ECP).

Study at a Glance:

A total of 30 boars were strategically placed in a 350-head tunnel-ventilated barn in Scottsville, Kentucky, forming two groups: CONTROL (without ECP) and PAD (with ECP flushing cold water when sensors reached 27°C or every 4 mins). Over four days of natural seasonal heat stress, with a daily mean temperature of 25.7°C, an hourly high temperature of 28.8°C, relative humidity of 85.4%, and a corresponding dew point of 26°C, researchers measured RT and RR at various times throughout the day (600, 830, 1100, 1330, 1600, 1830, and 2100 h).

Key Findings:

The study’s statistics, including mixed models and periodic regressions, showed that ECP significantly influenced rectal temperature (RT) and respiration rate (RR), especially when considering the time of day and the specific day. Notably, the reduction in breaths per minute during certain times of the day was consistent, though the overall response varied.

ECP proved effective in preventing respiratory and temperature spikes, especially in the afternoon and evening during increased barn temperature. This is a significant win for swine farmers dealing with heat stress challenges.

What it Means for Swine Management:

This research opens a new chapter in swine management, emphasizing the practical benefits of ECP during hot summer days. By understanding the specific impacts on boar thermoregulation, farmers can optimize the use of cooling technologies, ensuring the well-being of their Duroc boars during challenging weather conditions.

For more detailed insights, dive into the full study by D.A. Licuan, K.R. Stewart, J. Hundley, R. Nepomuceno, M. Robins, R. Crasto, B.A. Didion, M. Kleve-Feld, J. Y. Sung, A. P. Schinckel from Purdue University Department of Animal Sciences, Innovative Heating Technology, and Pig Improvement Company Inc.