How to improve thermal comfort in the farrowing unit

During the summer months, we will generally see a sow’s discomfort at the high temperatures reflected in her behaviour – resulting in decreased appetite, a reduction in feed intake, and a drop in milk production, which causes negative effects on piglet performance and maternal performance.

Two different microclimates are maintained in farrowing rooms – one for the piglets (between 30 °C and 35 °C during the first week of life), and another for the sow (ideally between 18 °C and 20 °C). It is, therefore, very difficult to control and maintain the temperature for each, so the sow is often subjected to temperatures well above the recommended range.

To achieve this balance, a farm called HoCoTec, located in the Colombian tropics, has implemented the FRESHNOSE system to improve the thermal comfort of the sows. The FRESHNOSE system uses a small air stream at the sow’s nose so that the area surrounding her head is at a temperature of 22 °C, while in other parts of the pen it can be around 33 °C. This contributes to improving the sows’ thermal sensation, feed intake, and litter performance, among other things.

Click here for the full article by Luc Willekens on

The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.