CategoryAnimal Science - Animal Science
Date Full Report Received07/04/2017
Date Abstract Report Received07/04/2017
Funded ByNational Pork Board
Use of evaporative cooling pads are common on sow farms in the Southeastern U.S., yet their potential use on grow-finish facilities to alleviate seasonality in growth performance has yet to be characterized. In the present study barn environment, pig temperature and pig performance were measured in tunnel ventilated finishing barns with cool cell pads (COOLCELL) or without (Control) from 2013 to 2016. Hence barn was the experimental unit. Adjacent barns (n=4) in eastern North Carolina were used. Each COOLCELL barn (n=2) was created by retrofitting a tunnel ventilated barn with cool cell pads. Summer barn temperature and relative humidity (RH) were recorded every 15 min and temperature-humidity index (THI) then calculated from each time point. Time points were classified as Day (9am to 9pm) or NIGHT (9pm to 9am). Thermal images were captured during DAY to assess body temperature as pigs with a greater temperature drop from the base of the head to the tip of the ear are able to better dissipate heat. Summer 2016, barn wind velocity was recorded with an anemometer at weeks 4, 5, 7 and 9 to 13 of the of the grow-finish period. Cool cell pad temperature, relative humidity, wet bulb temperature, wind velocity and cooling efficiency were also quantified at weeks 4, 5, 7 and 9 to 13 summer 2016. Pig performance measures included average daily gain (ADG), feed efficiency (Feed:Gain), livability, percent culls and medication cost. Summer DAY temperature was consistently lower for COOLCELL when compared to Control. Yet summer NIGHT temperatures for COOLCELL and Control were similar. Summer DAY relative humidity was greater for COOLCELL when compared to Control. Yet summer NIGHT relative humidity for COOLCELL and Control were comparable. Summer THI was lower during DAY for COOLCELL when compared to Control, yet THI was comparable for both barn types at NIGHT. Average pig ear temperature was lower for COOLCELL than Control (37.26 vs. 37.33oC). However, no statistical differences were detected for maximum pig ear temperature between COOLCELL and Control (37.72 vs. 37.67oC, respectively), minimum pig ear temperature (36.41 vs. 36.48oC, respectively) or drop in pig ear temperature from the base of the head to the tip of the ear (-1.34 vs. -1.20oC, respectively). No statistical differences in pig performance were detected between COOLCELL and Control for ADG, Feed:Gain, livability, percent culls or medication cost. Yet COOLCELL had statistically less medication cost during summer when compared to Control but numerically greater Feed:Gain during the same time period (2.60 vs. 2.53). While COOLCELL reduced summer DAY temperature and THI when compared to Control, no differences were seen in pig performance.