Javier Flores


With temperatures increasing steadily throughout the last century, the hog farrowing industry is beginning to confront an ongoing dilemma. Temperatures are now exceeding ideal conditions for optimal milk production, as well as maximum litter size. Temperatures that exceed optimal conditions can lead to significant heat stress among sows. Efficiently cooling-down sows, while keeping piglets at ideal temperatures, is the focus of this project. A cooling pad was built with copper pipes inside a high-density polyethylene board, covered by an aluminum plate. Experimental treatments included cool water flowing through the copper pipes at different levels depending on the specific sow. Intervals were controlled using a thermal threshold. Data shows that sows on HIGH flow rates saw more significant decreases in respiration rates compared to those with LOW/MED flow rates. Due to the removal of heat, sows also ate up to three times more feed, ultimately benefiting the sow in milk production, as well as litter size. Developing and manufacturing an efficient cooling pad for sows can solve the issue of heat stress which can ultimately save and earn millions of dollars for the hog industry.