Maintaining the proper environment in swine barns is essential for protecting animal health and promoting productivity. Austin Zimmerman, sales engineer for Automated Production Systems (AP) offers the following recommendations to prepare barn heaters before winter arrives.
- Blow dust and debris out of heaters with compressed air or a leaf blower tool. This will help promote efficient as well as safe operation.
- Ensure the ignitor, sail switch and flame sensor are not covered with carbon or dust. Carbon can build up as a byproduct of the burner.
- Move the flame probe ground wire to the burner to ensure the heater functions properly.
- Activate the heater from the room ventilation controller, which is important to make certain that the controller is communicating correctly.
- Watch the heater with the service door open to confirm the proper startup sequence: The fan motor starts, and sail switch engages; the ignitor starts and glows red hot; the flame ignites when the gas value opens; and the ignitor turns off.
“If any part of the startup sequence does not successfully complete, producers should troubleshoot the failure or, if necessary, contact their dealer,” Zimmerman says.
In addition to heaters, he recommends producers check barn curtains to make sure they are in good physical condition, and that the curtains reset to their open or closed position to properly calibrate the curtain machine. Zimmerman also reminds producers to update their environmental control systems with the latest software so they can access new enhancements and maintain optimal conditions within their barns.
For more information, contact your AP dealer or visit automatedproduction.com.
Tyson bans ractopamine feed ingredient
To meet growing global demand for U.S. pork, Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., in mid-October announced plans to prohibit the use of ractopamine in market hogs it buys from farmers beginning in February.
Ractopamine is a feed ingredient that helps increase the amount of lean meat in hogs. While it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and considered safe for use, some countries such as China prohibit the import of pork from hogs that have been given the product.
Tyson has been offering a limited amount of ractopamine-free pork to export customers by working with farmers who raise hogs without it, and by segregating the animals and products at processing plants. But these programs no longer meet growing global demand.
“We believe the move to prohibit ractopamine use will allow Tyson Fresh Meats and the farmers who supply us to compete more effectively for export opportunities in even more countries,” says Steve Stouffer, president of Tyson Fresh Meats.
Most of the hogs delivered to the company's pork plants are purchased from about 2,000 independent farmers. Farmers were notified of the change in mid-October and have until Feb. 4 to meet the new requirement. Tyson plans to work with them over the next few months to begin the process of testing hogs to ensure they are ractopamine-free.