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Baffling problem caused by climate change

Severe gales have been playing havoc with the ventilation systems on many exposed pig farms, causing management problems in farrowing, weaner and finishing houses, according to an environmental specialist.

“Increasingly we are being called out to deal with issues caused by ultra-strong winds which are overriding both the inlet and outlet shutters, resulting in draughts and interfering with temperature control,” said Tim Miller of ARM Buildings.

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“In farrowing houses, in particular, cold draughts can chill young piglets in pens near inlets and scouring can sometimes occur, while in finishing houses there may be outbreaks of vices, such as tail-biting, following the high winds, we have been experienced recently.”

Fortunately, a relatively simple and inexpensive solution is the fitting of additional external baffles, made from weather-proof panels, to break the full force of the wind and allow the ventilation systems to function as designed, he says. Traditional cowls can make the problem worse.

The problem is greatest with ACNV systems and also where “passive inlets” – those not mechanically controlled – are used. 

“In winter, when fans are operating at reduced speeds, high winds can override, or even stall, the fans, and open the shutters. Sometimes, if the shutters have not been cleaned and maintained properly, they can stick open and make the problem worse,” explained Mr Miller. “In weaner houses, where heating is provided this increased leakage can be extremely expensive!”

With climate change, this could be a growing problem, he suggests.

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