Why minimum and maximum ventilation are important for pig barns

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A close-up of a pig with a green ear tag standing in a pen

When maintaining a productive climate in a pig barn, both minimum and maximum ventilation are important principles to consider. In this article we explain the two types, how they can be measured and in what circumstances each ventilation principle is desired.

Minimum ventilation
As described in our recent article on the factors of a healthy barn climate for pigs, the air in pig barns contains multiple gasses and particles. When these particles reach above a certain limit, they can become harmful or corrosive and must be removed. Minimum ventilation is the minimal ventilation that is required to refresh the air adequately and is usually applied with low outside temperatures, for small piglets and during the night.

Minimum ventilation can be measured at the hand of the CO2 levels. This is measured in particles per million(ppm). When the level exceeds  3000 ppm, ventilation is not adequate. When measurements show levels to be below 2000 ppm, ventilation is excessive.

To save money on heating costs, minimum ventilation is sometimes set too low, causing the CO2 levels to rise too much. CO2 is not dangerous in itself, but when too much CO2 is present, this means the humidity is also too high, resulting in a bad air quality. It is thus recommended to ventilate adequately and use slightly more heating.

Maximum ventilation
In our article Why ventilation is so important in pig barns, we discussed that pigs consume less feed at high temperatures. They grow less and this in turn negatively affects company results. Additionally, the effects of heat stress can lead to bowel problems and other illnesses. Because of this, it is important to keep out the heat and at least remove the heat produced by the animals through ventilation. The amount of air needed to do this is referred to as maximum ventilation. Maximum ventilation is usually only required on hot summer days with the maximum amount of pigs in the barn.

Interested in seeing what fans are applicable for pig barns? Have a look at our page with fans for pig.

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published on March 6, 2020

Vostermans Ventilation

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