Brumm Speaks Out: Should we trust ‘automatic’ ventilation control

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The weather in Southern Minnesota this week is typical for the middle of November and the calendar says Oct. 21. For many producers in the region, their management focus remains the corn and soybeans still standing in the fields rather than the winterization of swine production facilities.

In southern Minnesota,  we can have daily highs of 100F (38C) in late July and August with dew point temperatures of 70F (21C) or higher and daily lows of -20F (-29C) in late January and early February.

Night time lows this week are predicted to be around 26F (-3C) and we fully expect to see daily highs in the coming weeks approaching 68F (20C) on more than one occasion before winter fully sets in.

This very wide range of climatic conditions is a primary reason producers in the region were early adopters of confinement production. However, it takes an adaptive attitude towards facility management to keep conditions in facilities within the comfort zone of the pigs.

With 20-30 mph northwest winds this past weekend any failures to close up fan shutters, curtain pockets, etc. has meant cold drafts in barns and propane furnaces coming on. Yet, if it gets to 68F next week, these same fans and curtains must be in operational mode in order to remove the accumulated pig heat from the facilities.

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