Rising summer temperatures can reduce sow and pig performance and reduce boar fertility, according to Pennsylvania State University researchers.

When pigs experience heat stress, they eat less and their growth rate slows. Sows that are too hot can have trouble conceiving and heat hampers sperm development in boars.

Getting hogs wet is still the most effective way to cool them, which makes sprayers, drippers and misters an important management tool to get the most out of your herd.

In the case of a spray nozzle: “Choose a nozzle size and regulate the spraying time so that each hog receives at least 0.02 gallons per hour,” says Kenneth Kephart, associate professor of animal science at Penn State. “For example, if you have 25 hogs per pen and one nozzle that puts out three gallons per hour, the nozzle should run about two minutes out of 10.”

Spray nozzles shouldn’t be used in farrowing houses because they can chill the baby pigs. Kephart suggests drip coolers as a better alternative there. Use nozzles rated to release one-half to one gallon of water per hour and run them one minute out of 10.

Foggers that spray a fine mist and evaporative coolers can help, but they add to the room’s humidity and are less effective on hot, muggy days when pigs need cooling the most, says Kephart.