Date Full Report Received


Date Abstract Report Received



Primary Investigator:

Validating ventilation system performance and troubleshooting its operation are challenging in swine faculties, especially with the increasing complexity in mechanical equipment and controllers. The ventilation system should provide a thermally optimum environment inside the facility that maximizes pig performance while simultaneously using minimal energy and natural resources. However, there are no simple methods available for producers to comprehensively assess the thermal component of the indoor environment; thereby, rendering it nearly impossible to determine if the ventilation system is correctly and accurately performing its designed function and achieving the producer’s goals. This project had two parts focused on: 1) designing, developing, and deploying a novel sensor array to assess ventilation system/controller performance; and 2) analyzing maintenance records to develop building component integrity protocols. Our project yielded a novel sensor array capable of measuring the key parameters that influence pig thermal comfort. This sensor array adds a new level of measurement precision greatly needed in modern facilities and goes beyond solely measuring air temperature. Thermal comfort simulation results of group-housed, grow-finish pigs were used to generate a new thermal index for assessing different environmental combinations and predicting the subsequent impact on pig performance. The newly created housed swine heat stress index (HS2I) will allow economic evaluation of different heat stress reduction strategies to aid in risk management decisions. Overall, this project will help the swine industry by providing new technology and methods to quantify the impact of the total thermal environment on pig performance for improved housing system design, management, and control decisions. For more information, please contact Dr. Steve Hoff (hoffer@iastate.edu) or Dr. Brett Ramirez (bramirez@iastate.edu), Department of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University.