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Creep Heating Costs Cut by Over 33,000 a Year

by 5m Editor
6 February 2009, at 7:15am

UK - A Suffolk farming company is saving nearly 33,000 per year though accurate control of electricity use in the heated creep areas of its farrowing houses and installing plastic curtains to retain the heat.


Assistant manager Gary Rogers (left) with unit manager Marcus Finn in the farm office. Records collated by Farmex's Barn Report have shown a saving of electricity worth over 33,000 a year.

Accurate control of heat input to the creeps has resulted in heavier pigs and a better atmosphere in the farrowing house, in addition to large energy savings, said assistant manager, Gary Rogers

An additional bonus is that the piglets are around 500g (1lb) heavier when weaned at four weeks.

Since October, Bacton Pigs Ltd has been carrying out a trial as part of the BPEX Energy Project, on its 300-sow in-house multiplication unit at Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds. Five farrowing houses have a total of 60 pens with boxed and curtained side creeps heated by 175W infra-red lamps. These are controlled by Farmex’s Dicam system which allows the piglets to be started off at 30 deg C followed by a pre-planned temperature reduction curve on a daily basis.

Electric meters were fitted to two of the houses where temperatures are using two sensors in each. The meters are read via the Dicam controllers and the Barn Report computerised monitoring system.

“Since the curtains have been fitted allowing us control the temperature inside the creep we have seen a reduction in cost of about 31 per crate per week — equivalent to 33,120 per year,“ commented Simon Guise, manager of the company’s pig operations. “Without the creep ‘leaking’ heat the farrowing room temperature is also more controlled and therefore sow feed intake is higher. “This has led to better milking and a heavier pig at weaning,“ he added.