Pig climate control: New sensor is a milestone for pig production
Big Dutchman will start marketing an award-winning new sensor developed by Dräger with immediate effect: the DOL 53 sensor. Farmers can use this sensor to measure and monitor the ammonia concentration in their pig houses permanently – for the first time ever. The data provided by the sensor allow the ideal regulation of climate, manure removal and feed management in the barn. With good management, this results in a significant reduction of the ammonia content in the air. Negative consequences on animal health are avoided.
Big Dutchman manager Heinz Südkamp explains the benefits of continuous NH3 measuring: “The pigs are healthier, the feed conversion rates improve and finishing and rearing results are better. For our customers, this means an increase in farm profits and improved animal welfare.”
Permanently monitoring the climate in the pig house
The winning feature of the DOL 53 sensor is its robust design. Until now, permanently measuring NH3 emissions from barns was a big issue: humidity, dust and especially the aggressive and corrosive ammonia gas itself affected all sensors that were available on the market so strongly that they often did not provide any suitable results after just a short time. This has changed notably with the new sensor. As proven by long-term studies conducted both in the laboratory and in the field, the innovation remains unaffected by temperature fluctuations and humidity changes and is not influenced by other gases such as methane or CO2.
DOL 53 is easy to install in the barn and can be connected to the pig climate control system. Due to continuous and very accurate data measuring and transfer, the system knows the air’s ammonia concentration at all times and farmers can adjust ventilation rates whenever necessary.
Another outstanding point: the sensor helps efficiently identifying concrete potentials for emission reduction. “Pig managers can implement modifications directly at the source, for example by changing the way they handle the slurry,” illustrates Südkamp. Changes to the slurry management can significantly reduce the NH3 concentration in the barn's air.
Feed: an important parameter
“The wrong feed smells worse” points out Südkamp, and thus lists another cause for increased ammonia concentrations in pig houses. The problem can be solved by supplying exactly the required amount of a feed with a lower crude protein content.
A study (79/2011, UN ECE-Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution - Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen) published by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) regarding the management of finishing pigs proves that lowering the intake of nitrogen via the feed by just one percent reduces ammonia emissions by 10 to 13 percent. Farmers who want to monitor ammonia emissions based on the feed they provide can find some parameters they can change here.
The DOL 53 sensor is easy to integrate into existing barns, irrespective of whether they have been equipped by Big Dutchman or not. The sensor has a universal 0 to 10 volt interface and can be connected to all standard climate control systems.
An international expert committee of the German Agricultural Society (DLG) awarded a silver innovation medal for the sensor during the EuroTier 2016 show.