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Impact of Brazilian pig farm construction and environmental management practices on nursery pig performance – A case study

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

Citation:  10th International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES X)  .(doi:10.13031/iles.18-153)
Authors:   Eliene Justino, Fausto Pires Maluf, Kenneth D Casey
Keywords:   Nursery, weaners, environmental management, weight gain, temperature, relative humidity.

Abstract. Producers are generally more concerned about the impact of cold on piglet weight gain during the first weeks of life than on the harmful effect of heat on weight gain during later growth stages. This case study investigates the impact of typical Brazilian pig building construction and management practices on thermal comfort and pig weight gain in the nursery phase over a winter period at a commercial 1000 sow farrow to finish farm from July 7 to August 14, 2016. The farm was in southern Brazil near the city of Palotina in the state of Paraná at 333 m altitude. The regional climate is Humid Subtropical (Köppen classification), with hot summers and cold or mild winters. The barns on this farm were uninsulated. The barn roofs were clay tile, with polypropylene ceiling and sidewall curtains. The pen floor was plastic tile. Gas infra-red heaters provided supplemental heat within the barn during the first fifteen days. The farm had no fans, spray cooling or other equipment to mitigate heat during periods of high ambient temperature. The distance between barns was 4 m. Weaning weight at 21 days, body weight at 63 days, and average daily gain were recorded using the AgrinessTM pig farm management program and were extracted for the comparative and statistical analysis. During the hottest months of the year (October, November, December, January, February and March), average daily gain was 399 g d-1, whereas during April, May, June, July, August and September average daily gain was 422 g d-1. This difference was statistically significant (p <0.05). The producer was advised to: automate the temperature control and the side-curtains, install mechanical ventilation with evaporative cooling, and thermally insulate the roof.

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