As producers invest recent profits back into facilities (both new and remodeled), now is the time to give some thought to equipment operating costs. I’m referring here to ventilation fans and their CFM/watt ratings.
While US electric expense ($/kWh) is low by comparison with most other locations in the world where pigs are grown, it is still an ongoing operating expense. Up until last month, forecasts for the cost of electricity were almost 100% upward due to the increasing maintenance costs at our older hydro generation stations, rising costs of emission controls at coal fired generation stations, the higher operating costs of natural gas fired stations and the overall higher cost of alternative energy sources (generally wind and solar).
With the price of crude oil now hovering around $60/barrel versus $100 a few short months ago, the rise in electric generation costs is expected to slow and maybe even stabilize for a few years. However, long term the expectation is for higher electric rates.
The 2 biggest electric expenses in production facilities are the feed delivery motors and the ventilation fans. In terms of managing electric expenses, there aren’t a lot of opportunities in the feed delivery arena. The biggest operating cost savings come in the selection of fans for our facilities.