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Open AccessArticle

Pilot-Scale Assessment of a Novel Farrowing Creep Area Supplementary Heat Source

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Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
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Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(11), 996; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110996
Received: 25 October 2019 / Revised: 15 November 2019 / Accepted: 16 November 2019 / Published: 19 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Peri-Parturient and Lactating Sows and Piglets)
Pre-weaning mortality (PWM) causes major economic and productivity losses for the US swine industry. This pilot-scale study evaluated a novel semi-enclosed heated microclimate (SEHM) as a supplementary heat source for farrowing creep areas. Six farrowing cycles (from January to July 2019) were studied in two rooms with 24 farrowing stalls per room. Six SEHMs (each SEHM covers two stalls) were randomly distributed in each room and compared to heat lamps (HLs) for productivity and electricity usage. Data were collected on 113 (SEHM) and 101 litters (HL), and there was no statistically significant difference for average daily gain and weaning weight. There was a tendency for significance of PWM (p = 0.08). A significant difference (p = 0.02) was noted in the PWM attributed to over-lay mortalities, SEHM = 4.05% (± 0.76%) compared to HL = 6.04% (± 0.78%). The SEHM averaged 3.25 kWh d−1 (2.91, 3.59 kWh d−1; 95% CI), which was significantly different (p < 0.01) from the HL equivalent with 125 W bulbs (6 kWh d−1). Based on only electrical savings, payback was estimated at 74 farrowing cycles, or at 12 cycles y−1, 6.1 years. The SEHM demonstrated promising pilot-scale results for increasing productivity and decreasing electricity usage compared to conventional HLs.
Pre-weaning morality (PWM) is attributed to a poor creep area microclimate and causes major economic and productivity losses for the US swine industry. Piglets need supplementary heat to overcome a high surface area to body weight ratio and minimal thermoregulation. A pilot-scale study was conducted to evaluate a semi-enclosed heated microclimate (SEHM) as a supplementary heat source for farrowing creep areas over six farrowing cycles (from January to July 2019) in two rooms with 24 farrowing stalls in each room. Six SEHMs (each SEHM covers two stalls) were randomly distributed to each room and compared to heat lamps (HLs) for productivity and electricity usage. Data from 113 (SEHM) and 101 litters (HL) showed no significant difference between treatments in average daily gain (p = 0.26), 252.4 ± 8.0 g hd−1 d−1 (SEHM) and 260.3 ± 8.1 g hd−1 d−1 (HL) and PWM (p = 0.08), 9.67% ± 0.82% (SEHM) and 12.04% ± 0.87% (HL). However, a significant difference (p = 0.02) was noted in the PWM attributed to over-lay mortalities, 4.05% ± 0.76% (SEHM) compared to 6.04% ± 0.78% (HL). The SEHM electricity averaged 3.25 kWh d−1 (2.91, 3.59 kWh d−1; 95% CI), which was significantly different (p < 0.01) from the HL equivalent (125 W bulb; 6 kWh d−1). View Full-Text
Keywords: pre-weaning mortality; piglet; microclimate; thermal environment; heat lamp pre-weaning mortality; piglet; microclimate; thermal environment; heat lamp
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Smith, B.C.; Ramirez, B.C.; Hoff, S.J.; Greiner, L.L. Pilot-Scale Assessment of a Novel Farrowing Creep Area Supplementary Heat Source. Animals 2019, 9, 996.

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