The swine extension team at the University of Minnesota has a podcast available through the Apple platform. If you have additional free time these days, you may want to check their latest episode on nursery temperature settings and their impact on pig performances!
Sarah Schieck Boelke, swine Extension educator talks to Lee Johnston, professor of swine nutrition and management and director of operations at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center about research he collaborated on with colleagues at other universities looking at the effects of reduced nocturnal temperature on pig performance and energy consumption in swine nursery rooms.
This study was published in the Journal of Animal Science and is available to read online.
The objective of this investigation was to determine the effect of a reduced nocturnal temperature (RNT) regimen on performance of weaned pigs and energy consumption during the nursery phase of production. The age of weaned pigs assigned to experiments ranged from 16 to 22 d. In Exp. 1, 3 stations conducted 2 trials under a common protocol that provided data from 6 control rooms (CON; 820 pigs) and 6 RNT rooms (818 pigs). Two mirror-image nursery rooms were used at each station. Temperature in the CON room was set to 30°C for the first 7 d, then reduced by 2°C per week through the remainder of the experiment. Room temperature settings were held constant throughout the day and night. The temperature setting in the RNT room was the same as CON during the first 7 d, but beginning on the night of d 7, the room temperature setting was reduced 6°C from the daytime temperature from 1900 to 0700 h. The use of heating fuel and electricity were measured weekly in each room. Overall, ADG (0.43 kg), ADFI (0.62 kg), and G:F (0.69) were identical for CON and RNT rooms. Consumption of heating fuel [9,658 vs. 7,958 British thermal units (Btu)·pig(-1)·d(-1)] and electricity (0.138 vs. 0.125 kilowatt-hour (kWh)·pig(-1)·d(-1)] were not statistically different for CON and RNT rooms, respectively. In Exp. 2, 4 stations conducted at least 2 trials that provided data from 9 CON rooms (2,122 pigs) and 10 RNT rooms (2,176 pigs). Experimental treatments and protocols were the same as Exp. 1, except that the RNT regimen was imposed on the night of d 5 and the targeted nighttime temperature reduction was 8.3°C. Neither final pig BW (21.8 vs. 21.5 kg; SE = 0.64), ADG (0.45 vs. 0.44 kg; SE = 0.016), ADFI (0.61 vs. 0.60 kg; SE = 0.019), nor G:F (0.75 vs. 0.75; SE = 0.012) were different for pigs housed in CON or RNT rooms, respectively. Consumption of heating fuel and electricity was consistently reduced in RNT rooms for all 4 stations. Consumption of heating fuel (10,019 vs. 7,061 Btu·pig(-1)·d(-1); SE = 1,467) and electricity (0.026 vs. 0.021 kWh·pig-1·d-1; SE = 0.004) were lower (P < 0.05) in the RNT rooms compared with CON rooms. This represents a 30% reduction in heating fuel use and a 20% reduction in electrical use with no differences in pig growth performance or health. From these experiments, we conclude that imposing a RNT regimen from 1900 to 0700 h is effective in reducing energy costs in the nursery without compromising pig performance, which will reduce production costs and decrease emissions of greenhouse gases.