CategoryAnimal Science - Animal Science
Date Full Report Received10/23/2008
Date Abstract Report Received10/23/2008
InvestigationInstitution: South Dakota State University
Primary Investigator: Bob Thaler Ph.D.
Co-Investigators: Michael Brumm, Marcia Carlson-Shannon, Lee Johnston
Funded ByNational Pork Board
Research in the 1980’s demonstrated that nursery room temperature could be reduced 10oF during the night without adversely affecting pig performance. This resulted in a significant savings in utilities without compromising pig performance. However, pigs in those studies were weaned at a much older age (24-28 days) than today’s 17 days of age at weaning, and no research was available to see if the younger pig responded the same way to a reduction in night-time temperature. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine if reducing nocturnal temperature (RNT) between 1900 and 0700 hours by 10oF affected the performance of early-weaned pigs (approximately 17 days of age). A common protocol was developed and 4 universities (SDSU, U of MN, UNL, & U of MO) each ran two trials in the fall, winter or spring months. Two nursery rooms were used:1) CON where initial temperature was 86oF and then reduced 3.6oF weekly through the nursery phase; and 2) RNT where on day 7 post-weaning, nocturnal temperature was reduced 10oF from the CON between 1900 and 0700 hours, and then returned to CON from 0700 to 1900 hours. Performance was measured weekly in the nursery phase (35-42 d), and electrical and propane usage recorded weekly as well. SDSU data were dropped from the analysis due to a confounding factor within the building. A total of 1258 weaned pigs weighing 13.7 lbs were used in the 6 trials. Nursery average daily gain (.95 lbs/d), average daily feed intake (1.36 lbs/d), and feed/gain (1.46) were identical for the CON and RNT pigs. Heating fuel consumption (BTU/pig) was reduced by 17.4% and electrical usage (Kwh/pig) was reduced by 10.7% for the pigs in the RNT treatment. Therefore, producers can save a substantial amount of money through reduced propane and electrical costs by reducing nocturnal temperature the second week after weaning for early-weaned pigs (13.7 lbs) without affecting growth performance. Using heating fuel at $2.00/gal and electricity at $.08/kwh, that equates to a heating fuel savings of $1.55/pig ($8.81 vs $7.26) and an electrical savings of $.05/pig ($.45 vs $.40), for an overall utility savings of $1.60/pig.