Hands-on Ventilation Workshops

David Stender, swine field specialist


Workers in swine confinement units need to know the basics of environmental needs of pigs and how pigs interact with their environment, cooling systems for pigs, and troubleshooting common ventilation problems. Swine confinement operators are pressured to keep up with the advances in technology. From Dec. 2003 to Jan. 2004 122 producers, veterinarians, and agricultural professionals attended one of five workshops held during that period. A key component of the workshops was ‘hands-on’ demonstrations of ventilation principles using a 6’ x 8’ x 8’ demonstration room. The demonstration room is equipped with fans, various inlets, heaters, and controllers and allows practical demonstrations of many of the ventilation principles taught in the classroom portion of the workshop.


An evaluation returned by participants at the end of the workshop indicated that the attendees rated the benefit gained from attending the all-day workshop at 3.2 based on a 1 to 4 scale with 4 being ‘quite a lot’. The biggest changes in knowledge, based on their rankings of before and after knowledge, were in the areas of temperature and airflow needs of pigs, understanding the basics of ventilation including static pressure, and troubleshooting techniques. A majority of the comments on the evaluations indicated changes were planned in swine facilities based on the knowledge gained of static pressure and the impact of inlets on static pressure. A majority of comments also included statements regarding knowledge gained regarding correct design and application of cooling systems for pigs.


When asked to estimate the production value of the meeting, responses varied from $100 or less total value to $10 per hog on some farms. A majority of the attendees rated the value at between $1000 and $5000.
The following are reported changes in ventilation management implemented because of what was learned from the program:

Adjustment of air inlets; Lowered the set point temperatures in finishers; Cooled the nursery for the last 1-2 weeks as pigs get bigger; Checking inlets;
Use sprinklers sooner and more often; Change inlet settings; Check for static pressure; Close inlets that are too close to the wall; Change inlet spacing and size in farrowing; Adjust ceiling inlets to barn attic; Measure air flow; Clean fans up; Check fan curves; Change settings to keep air flow at optimum level; Change air flow for better air distribution and less drafts; Insulate one finisher with new curtains; Reduce static pressure in one new building, increase in two older buildings; Reduce the air flow in some rooms; adjust inlets to maximize air flow potential; Find unexpected leakages; Stop drafts on pigs by adjusting inlets; Tighten up uncontrolled air inlets; Shut down one air inlet that is beside another one so the air doesn’t drop right down to the pigs; Use a surface temperature tester; Let the North curtain down first; Purchase a monometer; Clean the fan louvers; Buy tools to test airflow; Insulate our barns.

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu