Can your ventilation system handle the next heat wave?

Heat waves are becoming more common worldwide, leading to heat stress in poultry production. The heat stress causes decreased production and lower welfare. A heat wave in the summer of 2022 affected most of Europe. For instance, in the UK, where July 2022 was a record-warm year, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius on some days. Millions of chickens suffered from heat stress and died during the heat wave (The Independent). The impact was so severe that chicken meat production in the UK was 9% lower in July 2022 compared to July 2021 (Frontiers in Environmental Science).

As climate changes continue, there will be more extreme heat waves, so it is essential to ensure that your climate system can withstand such extreme weather and protect your production.

To prepare, here are two actions you can take:

  • Check and maintain your existing equipment
  • Future-proof your climate system to withstand more extreme heat.

Check and maintain your existing equipment

LPV systems

To have a well-functioning system, please ensure your ventilation system is up to date and complies with SKOV’s recommendations and dimensioning guidelines.
Some of the things to consider:

  • Does your ventilation system have enough capacity per animal?
  • Are your fans dimensioned at the correct pressure, or do you need additional fans?
  • Do you have a high-pressure cooling system, and can it sufficiently cool the poultry?

If you are uncertain whether your climate systems meet SKOV recommendations, please reach out to your local Sales Manager for assistance with the calculation.

Cleaning and maintenance

Dirty, clogged, or worn-out equipment can significantly affect the performance of the ventilation system. Start by ensuring that all your fans are functioning correctly. Over time, capacitors may wear out, resulting in fans running at lower revolutions. Additionally, dirty inlets and chimneys can disrupt airflow and generally reduce the amount of air flowing through.

Combi-Tunnel systems

Combi-Tunnel systems adhere to the same guidelines as LPV systems mentioned above but with additional requirements.
In Combi-Tunnel systems, assessing whether the Tunnel inlet doors with pad cooling are sufficiently large to provide the necessary cooling for the birds is essential. It's also crucial to consider the pressure loss when air passes through the pads.

Bleed-off on Pad cooling

Maintenance of pad cooling system

Regular maintenance is important to maintain the pad cooling system's maximum cooling capacity. When pads become clogged, pressure loss increases, and air performance decreases. Therefore, it is recommended to measure pressure loss across the pads during installation and monitor it over the years. If the pressure loss is too high, the pads should be replaced.

One significant reason for pad clogging is either a misadjusted "bleed-off" valve or the absence of a bleed-off valve in the pad cooling system. Without proper bleed-off, minerals in the water will accumulate in the circulating water on the pads. It reduces pad cooling efficiency and causes significant deposits on the pads, which may eventually partially or entirely block the airflow through the pads.

Future proof your climate system to withstand more extreme heat

One way to future-proof your climate system is to dimension for a warmer climate zone. That way, it is possible to add more cooling and more air velocity during heat waves.

In recent years, there has been a growing tendency in Europe for some livestock farmers to install Combi-Tunnel systems where they used to have LPV systems. Combi-Tunnel systems offer significantly more cooling than LPV systems, which is why the use of Combi-Tunnel systems moves further North in Europe.

Cooling requires energy, so we have developed the "cooling before maximum ventilation" function in BlueControl to save power. This feature attempts to cool the air with pads or high-pressure cooling before activating the fans at maximum output. It can save a significant amount of energy and water and is often a more efficient way to cool the air.

As always, if you have any doubts about your system's dimensioning and ventilation capacity, feel free to contact your local SKOV Sales Manager.