By Jean-Paul MacDonald
Innovative Solution to Heat Stress
Heatwaves affect not only humans but also livestock. For hogs, rising temperatures can lead to decreased feed intake, milk output, and overall growth.
This challenge caught the attention of scientists at Purdue University, leading to a groundbreaking solution.
Purdue’s Answer to Overheating
Designed by experts from Purdue University's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Animal Sciences, these unique cooling pads are the next big thing in swine care.
Measuring 2 feet by 4 feet, they consist of:
- Aluminum tread plates
- Copper pipes that circulate water
- Sensors for temperature control
Upon sensing an overheated hog, the pads initiate water circulation to maintain an optimal cool temperature.
Benefits of the Cooling Pads
Thanks to these pads:
- For Sows: Reduced heat stress, increased feed intake, enhanced milk production, and overall improved welfare.
- For Piglets: A notable 26% rise in weaning weight and a 7.2% uptick in feed intake.
- For Boars: Maintained semen quality with a reduction in heat stress-related abnormalities.
Francisco Cabezon, from Pipestone Research, highlighted the severe implications of overheating, particularly emphasizing its negative impacts on reproduction.
With this technology, farmers can expect healthier animals that grow better and have a higher survival rate.
Heading to the Market
The Winnipeg-based IHT Group, a division of Decisive Dividend Corp., plans to introduce this product to the North American market in spring 2024.
As Chris Grant, IHT president, puts it, "Farmers benefit when their swine aren’t affected by heat stress."
With the promise of a paradigm shift in hog production, the focus is now on refining these pads further, possibly using stainless steel pipes instead of copper for optimized performance.
In the ever-evolving world of agriculture, the integration of technology and science remains crucial.
Purdue's hog-cooling pads, backed by the IHT Group, represent a significant leap towards more sustainable and welfare-oriented farming.
Remember, when it comes to farming, every innovation counts!