Energy audits conducted in 28 different swine facilities in Saskatchewan, Canada showed a wide range of energy costs within similar type barns, meaning there are major opportunities to improve energy use practices and reduce cost of production.

The results in Table 1 were based on three-year historical data from 16 farrow-to-finish barns, two nurseries, six grow-finish barns and four farrow-to-wean barns.

The energy audits indicated the average utility cost (electricity, gas) per animal marketed ranged from $6.80 for farrow-to-finish barns to $0.60 for nursery barns (Table 1). All values expressed are in CAN$.

Some barns surveyed were found to use twice as much energy as the average for all barns; energy usage between the barns that used the least and the most energy differed by as much as four times.

Production stage, equipment and practices in different types of rooms in the barn can significantly impact overall energy consumption.

Using the survey results, four barns were selected for an energy audit and detailed energy-use monitoring. Two of the barns were among the highest (per animal) energy users, and two barns ranked among the lowest energy users per animal (Table 2).

Energy audits conducted during summer months indicated that the farrowing rooms had the highest level of electric power consumed per pig (kwh/head), seen in Table 2. Barn C used heat lamps only, resulting in high energy consumption. Other barns used a combination of heat lamps and heat pads that produced relatively lower electrical energy use by comparison.

Gestation rooms ranked second-highest in the amount of energy used during summer. Heat generated by the sows, combined with high outdoor temperatures, required almost continuous operation of all fan stages to maintain the required room set point temperature and to keep the sows comfortable.

Data collected from winter energy monitoring will complete the benchmarking phase of this study. The benchmarking information will be used to run computer simulations to evaluate various energy conservation strategies and quantify energy savings.

Identifying barn energy patterns will be valuable in determining energy conservation strategies best suited to individual operations.

Researchers: E.C. Navia, B.Z. Predicala, L. Whittington and J.F. Patience, all of Prairie Swine Centre (PSC), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Contact Whittington by phone (306) 667-7447, fax (306) 955-2510 or e-mail dlw116@mail.usask.ca.