UK: Costs of running a finishing house
What does it cost to run a controlled-environment finishing house? Not as much as most pig farmers think according to Tim Miller, environmental specialist with ARM Buildings.
The company is monitoring thousands of pig places as part of a long-term field trial to determine not just the cost of electricity but also the costs and impact on pig performance of different ventilation systems and size and number of fans.
ARM Buildings has been installing electricity meters in each house it supplies for a number of years. "Some farmers have been wary of installing controlled-environment piggeries because of the perceived running costs but, depending upon size, we've found on average it amounts to around just one penny per pig a day or 70p per finisher between 40 kg and 110 kg," said Tim Miller.
"We know from other records that pigs in a controlled environment accommodation reach slaughterweight at least five days earlier than those in straw yards or poorly-ventilated buildings. Even without taking into account the improved feed conversion efficiency, the running costs are more than recouped," he added.
Since 2008 data loggers have been fitted as standard to all ARM pig buildings enabling farmers to link up with Barn Report monitoring and information retrieval system. Linked to Farmex's Dicam control system this is starting to provide detailed information, so that such factors as side or ridge ventilation, small and large pig houses can be compared objectively, he points out.
With the new growth sensor technology coming on stream it will be possible to relate this accurately to pig performance.
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