Maartin van der Velden: ‘PadCooling in my pig barns is a small investment with a short payback time that I will benefit from in the long run’
Maartin and Leon van der Velden have a pig farm with Danish great-grandparent and grandparent stock gilts, sows, and fattening pigs spread over four locations in the Netherlands and Germany. Their motto is ‘Things that are good today should be better tomorrow.’ This summer, for the first time, they used PadCooling from Inno+ in their barns for the Danish breeding stock gilts in Asten and their nonpregnant and farrowing sows in Ospel. It was a relatively small investment that contributes to improving the quality of the pigs and the business process in the short and long term. Maartin expects to recoup the investment in one year.
Heavier weaned piglets and fitter sows thanks to padcooling
In his pig barns in Asten and Ospel, Maartin van der Velden and his company VeVar always have the biggest problems with hot summer weather. This is partly due to the ceiling ventilation system that has its air inlet in the eaves of the roof. Even at outdoor temperatures of 23 or 24 °C, the effect of the heat on the breeding gilts and sows is clearly perceptible. ‘The animals feed intake drops, lactation is reduced, and the weight of the weaned piglets is lower. Moreover, sows are less likely to come into heat and the fertility and pregnancy rates decline.’ Since last spring, Maartin van der Velden has been using PadCooling from Inno+ in these pig houses. In his locations in Asten and Ospel, Maartin had special cooling pads placed in the openings for the air inlet. Now when the air intake temperature rises above 21 °C, the PadCooling starts automatically. Cold water then flows continuously through the cooling pads. The air flowing through the cooling pads absorbs the moisture. The water evaporates, reducing the temperature of the incoming ventilation air. Of course, the PadCooling system switches off automatically when the desired temperature is reached in the barns.
Improved working conditions thanks to padcooling in the barns
The effect of PadCooling was very noticeable during the recent hot summer months. The temperature in the barn on hot days was much lower. On the hottest day last summer, the outdoor temperature reached 38 °C. Maartin van der Velden was able to lower the temperature in the barns by 6 °C. The animals are a lot fitter on hot days. This should affect the quality of the piglets and the performance of the sows. The working conditions on hot days have improved considerably. It is more pleasant to work at comfortable temperatures. On hot days, there is now much less stress on the farm; the animals are more at ease.
Limited investment with short payback time is always attractive
An additional advantage of the PadCooling is that on hot days we don’t need as much ventilation in the barns. That means we save energy. On cold, windy days, the cooling system evens out the effect of wind fluctuations. As such, we can also improve the barn climate in autumn and winter. PadCooling does produce an extra 10 Pa of air resistance, so we use a little more energy for ventilation all year round. The investment is quite reasonable: around 40 to 50 euros per farrowing sow place. The PadCooling from Inno+ was easy to install. ‘It’s a relatively small investment that I expect to earn back in a year’s time. We’ll also benefit from the advantages of PadCooling in the long term, with our pig houses. So, not only is the investment financially attractive, you also create better living conditions for the pigs, which means they perform better. It’s a win-win situation.’