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Hi-tech beats lockdown in a piggery

Remote monitoring of piggeries has proved to be a big advantage in these days of lockdown and social distancing. It enabled a ventilation problem on a Midlands finishing unit to be solved without a visit.

The environment in a 2,500-pig finishing house on a Midlands farm was well controlled but the temperature in a one room of 250 pigs fluctuated every two days, giving a cause for concern as the weather warmed up. This was identified by Tim Miller, environment specialist with ARM Buildings, from his home in Hereford. Through the Dicam system, linked to the Barn Report Pro data retrieval, he was able to diagnose the cause.

“To ensure all fans are used evenly, the system rotates their use every two days and I could see that one particular fan was causing the problem,” said Tim.

He rang the farm manager and was able to talk through the re-programming necessary to isolate this fan and allow normal ventilation until the issue was solved. It turned out that the motor driving the mechanical chimney baffle below the fan was not functioning causing the temperature to rise. This was later solved by an engineer.

“With the introduction of Dicam 2, more of these sorts of problems will be able to be solved remotely,” he said. “Beyond the current human risks with coronavirus, there could be considerable benefits for herd biosecurity.”

Since 2008 ARM Buildings has fitted data loggers as standard equipment to all its new pig houses.