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Thermal Comfort Impacts Productivity and Profitability
Dr. Brett Ramirez - Iowa State University

Farmscape for November 27, 2018

An Assistant Professor in Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering with Iowa State University says the more the comfortable the pig, the more productive and profitable it will be.
The thermal environment within the barn will directly impact the behavior of the pigs it houses and that behavior can provide a clear indication of their comfort.
Dr. Brett Ramirez, an Assistant Professor in Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering with Iowa State University, says the job of the ventilation system in the barn is to regulate the environment.

Clip-Dr. Brett Ramirez-Iowa State University:
From the animal's perspective we have the pigs producing heat and the job of our ventilation system is to remove that heat and provide fresh air.
When we're thinking about it from that side we're looking at the thermal comfort of the animals, what is their behaviors and how they're reacting to the environment.
Usually we can tell.
Pigs that are lying on top of each other, very tight together, it looks uncomfortable, usually the barn is too cold and they're trying to find other ways to stay warm.
Too hot, you're going to see the complete opposite.
They're going to be sprawled out, they're going to do everything they can to not touch one another.
When it's just right they're going to be nicely back to back, touching each other just a little bit and they'll appear to be nice and comfortable.
To answer the other question on the impact on productivity, when pigs are too cold they eat more to stay warm, they're too hot they eat less to stay cool.
That all goes into feed efficiency and average daily gain and can have a pretty big impact on economics.

Dr. Ramirez notes small pigs with a small surface area and not a lot of mass will lose heat faster than larger animals so they need a much warmer environment and they can't regulate as well so the temperature margin is much narrower.
He says, as the pigs grow and produce more heat, the environment will need to get cooler and they'll be able to handle bigger temperature swings.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork

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