Pig Housing Climate Control

There is no doubt that most pig producers around Australia have suffered a long hot summer, and many wish they had better ventilation and cooling for their pig housing. With climate extremes becoming more the norm, it is time to start thinking about how our pigs will fare next summer.
Proper ventilation design is essential for any form of pig housing. It is worth noting that ventilation airflow capacity does not necessarily mean ventilation quality, so just putting extra fans in a convenient spot doesn’t always solve the problem. We also need to consider that ammonia is lighter than air, but carbon dioxide and air-borne dust is generally heavier than air, so avoiding air stratification is essential. Successful ventilation systems provide well‐directed and uniformly distributed airflow without excessive draughts or dead spots. This will serve the needs of livestock much better than uncontrolled, high ventilation throughput.

High temperatures reduce feed intake, but low temperatures reduce food to body mass conversion, so having good temperature control in pig housing can significantly benefit productivity. Well designed climate controlled buildings provide optimal growing conditions year round and minimise heat stress losses during summer.
Evaporative cooling is an ideal solution for livestock housing because it can deliver large volumes of cool air at a reasonable energy cost. However with pigs, drawing air in one end of a building and discharging it at the other is less than ideal. The pigs at the upstream end will probably be overly chilled and subject to high air draught, while the pigs at the other end may be breathing stale and contaminated air. A better solution is to uniformly distribute cooled air throughout the building using engineered air inlets that provide uniform air flow and de-stratification of the air space. The air is then drawn out across the shortest path, giving better air quality for the last pig in the airflow pattern.

Correct design and installation of a climate control system is essential for productivity

Studies have shown that ammonia contaminated air in pig housing reduces feed intake and increases risk of lung diseases. There are some discrepancies on exactly what is a safe ammonia concentration, however the CSIRO Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Pigs, recommends a maximum ammonia pollutant level of 11ppm. Given that the human threshold of detection for ammonia odour varies from 0.5ppm to 50ppm, in many cases if you can smell ammonia in the air, the ventilation is inadequate.
Of course, looking after our workers is also a primary concern. Safe Work Australia’s Workplace Exposure Standards for Airborne Contaminants limit the Time Weighted Average (TWA) for exposure to Ammonia to 25ppm and the Short Term Exposure Limit to 35ppm.

Mundigo have over 20 years of experience with designing ventilation and cooling systems for pig housing. Starting from scratch where quality ventilation and cooling are integrated into the building design is obviously best, but there are many things that can be done to improve existing buildings. At Mundigo, we like to combine some HVAC science, with our sound knowledge of Australian conditions to produce ventilation and cooling designs that work for the producer. Mundigo source components from around the world, from multiple specialist manufacturers to deliver the best total system solutions.

Roll-down piggery curtains – a great idea!

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There’s got to be a better way to keep side wall curtains on pig sheds from flapping around and being untidy. Many men have scratched their heads wondering how a curtain can be neatly rolled onto a pipe and still open from the top down.

Now there is a way, without using counter-weights!

The patented system from Germany is simple and effective, and rolls the curtain neatly onto a pipe as the curtain opens from the top. The curtain is kept tight through all stages of opening and strong winds are not a problem.

The system can be either manually or automatically operated using the special winches and coupling systems sold by Mundigo. In fact the winches are interchangeable so you can upgrade from manual to automatic whenever you need to. One winch is needed for each side of the shed and the maximum curtain length per winch is about 50m. Maximum drop is about 3.2m

Mundigo provide the complete system including curtains made-to-measure, hardware, fasteners, detailed instructions and advice. Give us a call and get a quote!

 

Salt Lake Bacon does it well.

slb2Salt Lake Bacon owners Butch and Kerryn Moses along with their staff have grown their piggery steadily over the years into a modern and productive 2-site unit of 560 sows in South Australia’s mid-north region.

Butch and Kerryn took over in 2000 when the piggery was 280 sows with generally poor infrastructure. The old farrowing rooms were fairly ordinary and weren’t performing so they decided to fit-out one of the rooms with new Mundigo crates as an experiment. Over several batches they noticed improvements in farrowing numbers so the viability of replacing all of the crates became apparent. They could either replace all the existing crates or build a new farrowing shed and expand. Kerryn and Butch decided to build a new 96 crate evap-cooled farrowing shed to the most modern standards which was completed in 2006. The shed was designed by Mundigo and just  after completion the shed was the site for an opening ceremony with about 50 invited guests. It was over 40 degrees outside but inside was cool and the best place to enjoy great BBQ pork and cold drinks.

It quickly became evident that the new farrowing shed was a worthy investment. There was a 2 pig-per-litter improvement at weaning and the weaners were heavier. Sows were in better condition at mating and the improvements went on from there. This was all helped by good farrowing shed management by Alison, and notably the ease of working in the new facilities.

After the farrowing shed was commissioned, Salt Lake Bacon became a Top Pork member and has used Myora genetics ever since.

The new farrowing shed caused the weaner output to double so Butch and Kerryn took on several contract growers, providing a stepping stone for expansion plans. Then they made plans to build a new mating shed and once again got Mundigo to draw the plans and supply the equipment. The existing sow areas were re-modelled to meet new welfare requirements and changing management conditions.

The final piece of the puzzle was to bring all of the growers and finishers home and regain control of the production process. The project to build 10 new shelters on their grower site (6km from the breeder site) was finished in 2012.

After 12 years of hard work developing and expanding the piggery, Butch and Kerryn thought they could “put their feet up” from building and focus on fine-tuning production. But this caused a hitch when they realised they could better manage the grower/finisher herd if they built a new presale shed to give them more flexibility to deal with slower growing pigs. It could also give them the ability to not mix groups of finishers and thin-out numbers in the shelters towards the end. Pigs were weighed at various stages to monitor production on the grower site and penalties applied for heavy or light pigs in their market. The grower site manager Anthony had played a large role in the success of the operation which made the decision to build much easier.

So in July 2013 Mundigo started work building a new grower shed to house 660 finishers. Butch had found some shed trusses from a demolished building in Adelaide and the new shed was designed around them with new RHS columns and Purline insulated roof cladding. Mundigo’s Richard Boshoff project managed the construction and the final result was pleasing.

Salt Lake Bacon now sells 95% of finishers before 20 weeks and the remaining lucky pigs stay for a short time in the new grower shed with automatic natural ventilation, spray cooling and Big Wheel feeders.

Congratulations to Butch, Kerryn and their great team of staff on running such an impressive operation. It’s encouraging to see people being rewarded for hard work and persistence, and they deserve to be proud of their achievements.

Negative is best (with ventilation that is).

pig holeThere are basically 2 ways to ventilate a controlled environment shed – negative pressure and positive pressure. The right method depends on what type of shed it is.

Negative pressure is mostly used in new sheds – sucking the air out using fans and bringing the air in via wall or ceiling air inlets. Using many air inlets spread out means better air distribution and air quality. For this to work the shed needs to be airtight otherwise your air comes into the shed through all the gaps and holes – especially via effluent drains. Pull plug flushing systems are completely airtight so they make good sense in shed design.

Installing a false ceiling in a controlled environment shed improves the ventilation because it allows you to place ceiling air inlets throughout the room to get fresh air to all areas. It also keeps the room warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Positive pressure forces air into the building and the air escapes via various gaps or openings, similar to evaporative cooling a house. Positive pressure is often the best method to install a ventilation system to an older shed because sealing up all the gaps is often difficult.

To get the best advice about ventilation, heating and cooling contact Mundigo for a appraisal of an existing shed or design of a new one.

Stanfield creep heat mats – reliable and safe.

stanfield matElectric creep heat mats are gaining popularity in Aussie farrowing sheds because they save money – they use less power and they last for years. A Stanfield heat mat uses 140 Watt per creep area when running at full capacity (compared to a lamp which uses 175 Watt). However heat mats typically run less than full capacity when used with a creep heat controller.

The mat’s surface temperature needs to be 36 degrees at farrowing and reduced typically 2 degrees per week, so creep heat control is essential (you can’t raise and lower a mat!) Because mats waste less heat than lamps and their heat output is lower, the overall room temperature will be comparably lower. This is an important consideration – if the farrowing shed room temperature drops below 16 degrees on a cold night the piglets may suffer even if the heat mats are at the right temperature. Piglets will be warm on the bottom, cold on top. So installing heat mats in a cold, draughty, uninsulated farrowing shed may not be the best option unless they’re installed with supplementary heat lamps.

Mundigo are the only Australian company buying direct from the manufacturers in Kansas USA, so we naturally have a competitive edge with pricing and service. Stanfield mats come with a 12 month full replacement warranty, and mats typically last 8 years and beyond. Pressure-cleanable, jump-onable, non-chewable – a good investment. Mats are 1530 x 305mm per creep area and come in double or single. They attached to slatted floors using cable ties or to concrete using masonary anchors.

Give Mundigo a call for a quote. If you have a creep heating control system already the Stanfield mats will probably connect straight in, otherwise we have new options available.

New farrowing shed pushes the right buttons

IMG_0532When the Rudigers decided to build a new farrowing shed they  had given it plenty of thought. What Mundigo designed for them met all their needs to take their piggery to the next level.

Ray and Carol Rudiger have been supplying specialized breeding stock to the pig industry for many years and have a heritage of competing and winning at country shows. They know the importance of the farrowing area and knew what they wanted when the time came to replace their old shed.

Firstly the new shed had to be controlled environment with evaporative cooling to beat the hot weather they experience in the Mallee. They opted for 2m wide farrowing pens instead of the standard 1.8m to give the piglets more space and less overlays. They also chose LP gas hot water floor heating because of their limited power availability, but also with power outlets for a supplemental heat light during farrowing.

Another nice feature was an enclosed office and storage space built inside the farrowing shed near the main entrance with a fridge, sink and a place to have a quick coffee.

The Rudigers had installed Mundigo farrowing crates several years earlier which made their choice for new farrowing crates easy.

The lac sow feeders are filled with a Weda chain disk dry feeding system and AP Systems feed drops, allowing multiple feeds per day.

After Mundigo worked with the Rudigers to finalize the right design and pass drawings through council, Richard Boshoff from Mundigo managed the entire project from beginning to end including earthworks, gas tank sourcing and  installation, coordinating electricians and gas fitters, and supervising all construction. The project was completed on time and handed over with no extra add-on costs.

Mike’s cycled his first Murray to Moyne.

IMG_2313The annual Murray to Moyne bicycle relay was held in near perfect conditions this year in April, where a group of Bordertown cycling enthusiasts rode from Mildura (the Murray River) to Port Fairy (the Moyne River) to raise money for the Bordertown Hospital.

Its’ a distance of 520 km over 24 hours. This year the Bordertown team was a contingent of 12 riders made up of 3 teams of 4, each team riding about one third of the distance in 30km relay legs.

This year marked the 20th Murray to Moyne and the Bordertown group raised a record $37,000 for the event. Nearly 1200 riders participated from across Victoria and SA, all raising money for their local country hospitals.

IMG_1228

Riders began at either Mildura, Swan Hill or Echuca on Saturday morning and all converged on Hamilton by Saturday night. Sunday morning saw all participants ride 95km from Hamilton to Port Fairy together to complete the ride.

The weather was fine and riders were helped by calm northerly winds which helped many groups achieve some record times.

A great time was had by all riders and many thanks go to support volunteers who worked to make the event a success. I would like to personally thank the following people for their generous support:

Lindham Proprietors, Tarree Pastoral Co, Kia-Ora Piggery, D’Loris Proprietors, Blantyre Farms, Salt Lake Bacon, Cameron Pastoral Co, Aroora Enterprises, Wasleys Piggery, Dugald Walker, Peter and Jenny McMahon, Ken and Robyn Quick, Adam Link, Spanlift Buildings and DHA Rural Sales.

 

The latest technology employed in PNG piggery

png 2Think of a piggery in Papua New Guinea and you wouldn’t normally think of modern sheds with the latest ventilation and equipment technology. But that’s normal at Boroma – a 500 sow farrow-to-finish piggery located 25km north of Port Moresby.

There is a modern feed mill on the farm and feed components are shipped in containers mainly from Brisbane. Pigs are processed at a local abattoir to supply local supermarkets and butchers. Piggery png 3staff comprises mainly of local villagers with expat managers.

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Lock manual curtain winches are safer and stronger

lock hand winchNew from Mundigo is a hand winch for sidewall curtains that’s safe and strong. Mundigo is selling this hand winch exclusively in response to reports of serious injuries caused by “runaway” hand winches on naturally ventilated sheds.

The Lock hand winch is made in Germany and requires no brake.

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Creep heat lamps that last longer [video]

quartz heat lamp

New from Mundigo are quartz heat lamps which directly replace typical 175W glass heat bulbs. They are tough and will last three to four times longer than normal heat bulbs under normal conditions.

The main frame of the lamps is made of aluminium and stainless steel – absolutely no glass! The infrared quartz element is coated to make it water resistant, which is perfect for piggeries.
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