Initial findings from two on-farm trials in the UK indicate that carcass cooling containers can successfully keep dead bin contents at a stable low temperature.
The research is being carried out by AHDB Pork, an organisation for pig levy payers in England and a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
"As part of AHDB Pork's new series of field trials, two carcase cooling containers have been installed on separate units," explains Susan Rabbich, AHDB Pork environment and building research coordinator.
"The trials will last for 14 months in total. We're really enthusiastic about the initial findings which indicate that cooling containers can maintain dead bin temperatures at between 2°C and 7°C, even when external temperatures hit 30°C."
"As a result, odour is reduced along with the number of flies which makes for a much more pleasant environment for staff and pigs. What's more, the bins look neat, tidy and professional which all helps with community relations. "It's also hoped that chilling dead stock will help to achieve improved biosecurity on farm," she adds.
The early findings are indicating that carcase cooling containers are relatively cost effective to run. "During the summer, running costs were at around £0.80 per day and we anticipate that this will fall as we move into the cooler months. For some producers these running costs may be fairly minor compared to the potential benefits on offer."
On-farm storage of dead pigs
The overall aim of the trials has been to evaluate the operation and performance of cooling containers for the on-farm storage of dead pigs (fallen stock) in England.
"On a longer term, it's also hoped that, following storage, carcase quality will be improved and therefore the marketable yield of products derived from rendered material will be increased and collection costs reduced," explains Rabbich.
"All of the feedback that we've received so far has been really positive. Farm staff have said the containers are 'easy to use' and 'fantastic' while a collector has branded them 'a marvelous idea'," Rabbich concluded.