New Publications Focus on Protecting Swine Building Investments

Key areas of swine facility maintenance and improvement addressed

March 16, 2021, 8:17 am | Kapil Arora

Gable end of swine barn.AMES, Iowa -- With around 50 million animals raised annually, Iowa is by far the nation’s leading pork producing state. Most of these animals are housed in confinement production facilities.

Many of these facilities are aging and have significant maintenance and repair needs. Some newer facilities are deteriorating more rapidly than expected. Roof and concrete corrosion are particularly common issues.

To help the swine industry take a critical look at their facilities and identify areas of improvement, a team of agricultural engineers with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has compiled a series of new publications.

Five new publications are available, covering topics like enhancing the longevity of swine building components, gable and attic air intakes, concrete inspection, and installation and maintenance of wood roof trusses.

“We’ve been hearing a lot of feedback that suggested these were topics of concern for the industry,” said Kapil Arora, field agricultural engineer with ISU Extension and Outreach and one of the leading authors. “This prompted us to look at these topics to find alternatives and new methods to understand and manage the maintenance needs of these facilities.”

Regular building inspection and maintenance can increase the life of buildings, reducing annual costs, preventing system failures, and reducing inefficiencies that can negatively impact animal health, production and economic returns. Swine producers can benefit from guidance on best practices and new techniques to protect their swine building investment.

Arora said a potential problem is the recirculation of undesirable gases during periods of minimum ventilation in winter. The ventilation fans pull the gases out, but these gases can often recirculate through the soffits, causing premature damage to the facility roof. One solution is to close the soffit air intakes and install new air intakes on the gable end of the facility.

The publications are available free through the ISU Extension and Outreach store. They include:

  1. Enhancing the Longevity of Swine Building Components (AE 3543)
  2. Swine Building Ventilation System Maintenance and Troubleshooting Tools (AE 3544)
  3. Gable End Attic Air Intakes for Swine Building Ventilation (AE 3545)
  4. Concrete Inspection in Swine Buildings (AE 3547)
  5. Installation and Maintenance of Wood Roof Trusses in Farm Buildings (AE 3548)

The publications have useful information for swine facility owners and for contractors involved in their construction or maintenance. Additional publications are planned in the future. For more information, Arora can be reached at 515-462-1001.

Additional leading authors include Brian Dougherty, Kris Kohl, Shawn Shouse, and Kristina Tebockhorst.

Original photo: Gable end of swine facility.

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