Maximize Water Conservation this Summer

July 11, 2018 07:30 AM
 
Sustainability includes managing the whole-farm water system to keep pigs healthy and growing, especially during hot summer weather.

With rising temperatures, on-farm water use also rises as pigs naturally drink more and cooling systems kick in. It’s a bit of a balancing act to ensure that the water supply meets pigs’ needs yet minimizes waste, which is essential for a sustainable pork industry.

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While feed accounts for 90 percent of pork production’s water foot-print, the remaining 10 percent is tied more directly to the pig, with drinking water accounting for 80 percent of that share. Consequently, that’s an area where conservation practices can have an impact. The table shows how drinker selection and management can reduce water use for the total system.

There’s no question that using less water can reduce manure slurry and the related handling costs. Other areas that offer water savings include:

  • Check for and repair water leaks around lines and at the drinkers.
  • Meter total water use and monitor for deviations. This has the added benefit of flagging herd health flareups.
  • Thoroughly scrape out and soak rooms before power washing. Train barn washers to clean rooms efficiently to minimize the amount of water needed.
  • Calibrate animal-cooling equipment, check water lines and nozzles and monitor the related water use.

Click here to access the Pork Checkoff fact sheet offering more water conservation ideas.

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