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Determining Heat Tolerance in Finishing Pigs Using Thermal Imaging

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2012 IX International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES IX)  ILES12-1433.(doi:10.13031/2013.41569)
Authors:   T M Brown-Brandl, R A Eigenberg, J L Purswell
Keywords:   Thermal images, swine, heat stress, thermal neutral zone

Heat production from modern pigs has been determined to be significantly higher than previously defined in the standards. This increase in heat production changes the thermal needs of growing swine. A study was designed to evaluate using thermal images to determine the thermal needs of swine. Thermal images were taken of twenty individual pigs (31.1 57.2 kg) on seven selected days at seven different temperatures (21.3C 36.6C). The thermal images were analyzed to determine either average temperature (individual pigs) on the entire pig or only the trunk area. The surface temperatures were significantly affected by ambient temperature and response equations were developed. A breakpoint analysis revealed a threshold, thought to equate to the top of the thermal neutral zone, ranging between 20.4C and 22.8C. It was concluded that thermal images can be successfully used to evaluate the thermal needs of pigs and that the experiment needs to be expanded to include lower temperatures to ensure this threshold is correct.

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