It’s that time of year again – one minute it’s warm and sunny, the next it’s overcast and cold. While it’s a slight inconvenience for those working with and transporting pigs, it can have a big impact on the pigs.

When transporting pigs, handlers and drivers need to be aware of climate changes that can affect pigs’ health. For example, most areas of the United States may experience temperature variations of 10 to 30 degrees throughout the day. Transporters must take this change in temperature into account as they prepare to transport pigs so that they can keep the pigs in their thermoneutral zones. For market hogs, that’s usually at 68 degrees F maximum, but humidity plays a part as well.

When it comes to air quality, it’s typically improved in warm weather since ventilation in barns and trucks is more open. However, if a cold snap does occur, remember that any time ventilation is minimized, air quality can be compromised, which can affect pig well-being. Keeping open ventilation to the site helps prevent the spread of disease from animal to animal in the same barn or trailer and helps prevent accumulation of harmful levels of carbon monoxide.

For a comprehensive look at good production practices related to pig transport, please refer all drivers and transportation handlers to the Transport Quality Assurance TQA Handbook for guidance in all weather and to illustrate the impact transportation has on pig well-being. Also, the TQA Extreme Weather Guide offers good insights and tips in how to deal with changing weather.

To learn more about how seasonal change can impact pig transport and ways to manage it, check out this  research.

For more information on how temperature, handling, and air quality affect pig well-being, please contact pqaplus@pork.org or call (800) 456-7675.

Source: National Pork Board