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The swine industry suffers millions of dollars in lost revenue every year when newborn piglets die from becoming chilled, or rolled on and crushed by their mother. Heat lamps have been used for decades to warm them up, but an Iowa ag tech company called FarrPro has developed a more efficient way to deliver piglet comfort, heat, and safety.
Chris Hanson is the co-founder and vice-president of business development. He says this micro-climate, called the Haven, covers two crates. It warms the animals with an infrared heat source positioned on top of a partition wall.
"We’re shooting infrared energy up into a parabolic reflective shield which directs the heat straight down into the pig, so it feels to pigs like a noonday sunshine would feel on their skin. What’s important about this is we’re using long wave infrared," says Hanson. "That is very penetrating into the skin of a pig as opposed to just heating the ambient air."
The design keeps them further away from the sow which reduces crushing, and the sow stays cool which makes her more comfortable. Toasty piglets spread out under the heat with very little piling on each other.
"What we’re seeing is they really like to lounge under it, for them it feels kind of like they’re laying on the beach. So, that’s what we want to do, we want them to be comfortable, relaxed, easy access to the sow’s udder for milk. We’ve actually seen where they’re laying half under and half out of the units suckling, and they sometimes just fall asleep right on the teat," he says. "It’s really healthy creep behavior that we see."
FarrPro plans to begin selling the Haven nationwide this year.