Since the beginning of the development of intensive livestock farming, four phases can be distinguished in climate systems:
1G- Outdoor Farming: animals walk outside in pastures
2G- Stables construction and natural ventilation
3G- Mechanical ventilation and heating
4G-Conditioning incoming air (preheat and cooling);
Reduce emissions from air washers;
The history of intensive livestock farming has started with the keeping of animals in the meadows around the farm (phase 1). This way of keeping animals has for centuries been the way to produce food for humanity. During the winter or night period, animals were housed in primitive shelters for protection against the outside climate.
In the period 50 to 60 years ago, construction started on more professional stables that could accommodate larger numbers of animals and where more efficient food production was found. We call this phase 2. Many were hesitant in the beginning to take this step, because investments had to be made in stables, while according to many it was also possible to simply keep the animals in the meadow. Over time, it was understood that making an investment in a building yielded more returns than if the animals were only kept in the meadow. The protection and better conditions ensured that the performance of the animals increased and this resulted in more money for the entrepreneur. The pioneers who built stables at the start of this period were eventually believed and followed. The construction of stables with natural ventilation was born.
The next phase, typically started around 30 to 35 years ago, was the start of phase 3, where the stables were to be equipped with mechanical ventilation and heating systems. Again there were skeptics who said: “Who is going to invest more and spend more money on electricity and gas / oil, when the animals can also be kept in a naturally ventilated stable”. Time has also learned that today almost all stables are equipped with mechanical ventilation and heating, and again this phase led to an improvement in the production and welfare of the animals and thus also for the entrepreneur’s portfolio.
We are now in phase 4: 4G Climate systems. A phase in which many things in society change and the pressure on an integral approach to environmental, welfare, production and data aspects is necessary. The climate in which the animals live is kept as constant as possible in the conventional systems (in phase 3) with advanced climate computers. However, a large unpredictable factor remains: the uncontrollable weather conditions outside. In addition, emissions are produced in the stables that are above the desired social and environmentally responsible standards. With the ventilation air, enormous amounts of energy produced by the animals is blown into the outside air. In fact, this is an example of an inefficient use of feed in intensive livestock farming (only part of the feed is used to produce feed, the rest of the feed is blown into the air via produced heat). With a circular economy as the objective, the above insights provide new opportunities;
One of the most important aspects to improve the climate in stables is to ensure that the incoming air is conditioned, both pre-heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. An optimal climate means that the farmer is given more flexibility to meet the needs of the animals because there are fewer risks to the health of the animals and therefore fewer risks to the income of the entrepreneur. During winter to handle higher ventilation level instead of this decrease, the environment for the animals remain fresher and healthier and removing the risk of disturbances by germs floating in the air. When the incoming temperature rises due to pre-heating with recovered energy, the animals need to use less energy from the feed to keep themselves warm, this means better feed conversion and lower costs for the farmer. In addition, 4G climate systems for pig and poultry houses have many more advantages.
First an optimum climate
4G climate for intensive livestock changing the way production is operated compared to a traditional (3G) approach . Today, humanity still thinks too much as follows: produce, make a mess, and clean up afterwards! In the future, we will adjust production in such a way that we achieve optimum welfare for humans and animals, where maximum respect for the environment is achieved. This will radically change the way we design pig, poultry and beef stables.