Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Animal Science
Journal or Book Title
Research Focus Area(s)
Animal Production Systems Engineering
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).
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Smith, Benjamin C.; Ramirez, Brett C.; Hoff, Steven J.; and Greiner, Laura L., "Pilot-Scale Assessment of a Novel Farrowing Creep Area Supplementary Heat Source" (2019). Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Publications. 1093.