Serious winter warning to pig farmers issued

Tim Miller checks a fail-safe battery on a 400-pig place finishing building on a Midlands farm
Tim Miller checks a fail-safe battery on a 400-pig place finishing building on a Midlands farm

A serious winter warning to pig farmers has been issued by an environmental specialist.

“If you have controlled-environment houses, check that your fail-safe batteries are working – and don’t put it off,” says Tim Miller of ARM Buildings.

“Some farmers have had potentially serious issues.”

These batteries are vitally important, since if there is a power outage, they are needed to open ventilation flaps to ensure the pigs have sufficient fresh air and oxygen, set off an audible alarm or send a notification signal, such as a text so that action can be taken.

In winter, to keep temperatures up, many buildings are set on minimum ventilation, so it is not easy to detect if fans have stopped working, even if there is no a power-cut, Tim points out.

“In certain conditions only one fan may be functioning, and if this stops it might not get noticed, especially if the building is not remotely monitored.”

The back-up batteries are small – similar to those used on motorbikes and other appliances – are relatively inexpensive, and they should last about two years.

Under the law, farmers are obliged to have an alarm system and to test it once a week and this should be enshrined as a routine, believes Tim.

“Turning the power off to check only takes few minutes – but the day you find the batteries are not working can be too late!” he warned.