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Blog posts of '2017' 'March'

“Click-Clack” Doesn’t Mean Your Medicator is Working.


Many of the chemical products used in poultry and swine production are delivered through the water system.   Some simple best practices will keep your water-driven, volumetric proportioner, or as it more commonly called a medicator, in good working order.

Agitator-Pump1.Use a mixing device in the stock tank...and that doesn't mean a paint stick! 
Many of these products don't mix well in stock tanks and are difficult to keep in suspension. A small (1/200 hp.) agitation pump does a great job of keeping solids in suspension, is inexpensive to operate and is relatively low-cost at around $60. Maintaining a homogenous mixture in the chemical stock tanks aids in accurate chemical delivery.

2.Flush with clean water...from a clean bucket.  
After you finish injecting a product, take the hose out of the stock tank and let the medicator pull water from a clean 5-gallon bucket. The fresh water will flush any chemical residue from the seals and springs. Cleaning the system also prevents any problems with leftover chemical reacting with the next product used in the system.   Seal Kits 3."Click-Clack" doesn't mean it's working... replace the seals.  
While it is easy to diagnose a broken spring or diaphragm when you don't hear the familiar "click-clack," a medicator will continue to operate with damaged seals. Harsh chemicals can weaken or damage the rubber seals over time, allowing the stock solution to leak causing inaccurate dosing rates.   To maintaining accurate chemical delivery, replace the rubber seals annually. There are replacement seals kits available for every brand of medicator on the market. It takes less than 15 minutes to do and the cost for most kits is under $20.

While you're at it... clean the inside too.
As long as you are taking the medicator apart, disassemble the entire medicator as far as you feel comfortable doing and soak the parts in soapy water to remove chemical or mineral deposits.  Let the part soak for 24-48, rinse and reassemble.  To remove a heavy mineral buildup, consider using a 50% vinegar soultion or CLR to soak the parts.  Check with the equipment manufacturer before using.

5.Check the suction works like a straw.
A cracked or broken suction tube permits air to enter the system ruining accuracy. It's a good idea to periodically snip off the top part of the hose and reattach it to the medicator hose barb to prevent leaks.

These are general recommendations for the most commonly used chemicals.   Some chemical formulations may require more frequent maintenance and cleaning of medicator pumps for proper dosing rates.

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Dim-To-Calm™Pig Lighting

DimtoCalm 1540x800

Using LED style lighting reduces electrical usage by 75-80% compared to incandescent bulbs and 50-60% over spiral CFLs. In most situations, the financial payback period will be between one to two years.  

While all LED lights will achieve this expected energy savings, Once, Inc. offers their AgriShift Dim-to-Calm™ system specifically designed for use in swine facilities.  

Domestic swine were developed from wild boar species, which occupy shaded habitats and are most active at dawn and dusk. This fact suggests that swine have a visual system that is best adapted to dim light rather than the bright light of mid-day or darkness of nocturnal light.  

While humans see light primarily in the green and yellow spectrums, swine’s highest sensitivity is focused on the blue and green parts of the scale with little recognition of red shades. In other words, pigs perceive red lighting as darkness.

sunset Dim-To-Calm lighting mimics sunrise to sunset photoperiods

Photoperiod requirements have not been well studied in swine, but it is evident a cyclical light: dark cycle should be provided. At all stages of production, swine benefit from at least eight hours of light and at least eight hours of darkness. The transition from light to dark periods should be gradual, much like natural sunrise and sunset, to reduce stress caused by sudden changes in light.  

AgriShift Dim-to-Calm LED technology provides producers a method to automatically control light intensity, color spectrum and photoperiod length for swine specific lighting. The dimming capability simulates a sunrise to sunset scheme and is regulated through the house controller by use of a slave dimmer or by an AgriShift master control. Additionally, the shifted spectrum provides a service light (red color) that allows workers to have continual access to the facility after hours without disturbing or interrupting the sleep cycles of the pigs. Some producers have also utilized an additional period of light at night during hot weather. By setting up a shorter sunrise to sunset sequence during the cooler evening hours, they can encourage finishing pigs to consume more feed.

Dim-To-Calm lighting mimics sunrise to sunset photoperiods 10 watt LED fixture with slave dimmer

The AgriShift LED lights are 10-watt jelly jar type fixtures with output equal to a 75-watt incandescent. It's an innovative design with the minimal heat of LEDs allowing the use of a low-profile plastic jar measuring only 2” compared to a typical 5"-7" long jelly jar. Replacement is simple with the provided Edison pigtail connector screwing into the existing light socket, twisting the jelly jar adapter in place and connecting the base lamp to complete the installation. The expected life of the bulb is 50,000 hours and is backed by Once's 5-year replacement warranty.  

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Sprinkler Systems Enhance Tunnel Ventilation

Ice Cube Chicken

A low-pressure sprinkler system should not be confused with the standard fogging systems. While fogging systems deliver a fine mist, low-pressure sprinklers produce a larger water droplet that does not hang in the air but drops straight to the floor. As the droplets hit the birds, they are stimulated to stand up and migrate to feed and water.

The settings in the controller can be configured to match any management scheme by varying the starting and ending set points for dates, times and temperatures in both cooling and activity modes. The following is an example of a typical operating sequence. 

Sprinkling encourages bird migration to feed and water Sprinkling encourages bird migration to feed and water

As the building temperature increases and the building goes into tunnel mode, the sprinkler system begins to activate its first stage setting at 2 degrees above set point.   The system runs for 10 seconds every 30 minutes. The birds react by standing and releasing the heat trapped under their bodies, which is removed by the ventilation system.  

In the second stage, the sprinkler system increases output at five degrees above set point by operating for 20 seconds every 15 minutes. The trapped heat is released more often as the bird's activity increases and the additional sprinkling begins to create some evaporative cooling on the birds.  

At eight degrees above tunnel mode, the sprinkler control enters into its third stage increasing to 20 seconds every seven minutes. Wind speed should be at least 600 feet per minute, creating wind chill and evaporative cooling on the birds minimizing any felt heat stress.

GrowerSELECT control with sprinkler head assemblies GrowerSELECT control with sprinkler head assemblies

If outside temperatures continue to rise and the barn controller activates the evaporative cooling system, the sprinkler system will drop back to either stage two or three.   The large water droplets hitting the birds continue to stimulate their activity, encouraging frequent migration to the feeders and waterers.  

Increasing the evaporating cooling set point to 12 degrees above when the tunnel doors are activated may save up to 80% of the water normally used during the initial cooling stages.  

The building is also operating at a low humidity level allowing the birds to more efficiently cool themselves through natural respiration.  

Producers may also see increased cool cell pad life, as the system will operate less frequently allowing more time for the pad to dry between cycles.

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