Plumpton College is a state of the art agricultural education centre which farms over 2,500 acres. Based below the chalk hills of the South Downs, the college has a dairy herd of 260 cows, 1000 sheep and 135 sows as well as 65 horses as part of the equestrian centre.
The UK farming sector is facing many challenges. It’s the aim of Plumpton college to equip a new generation of farmers to meet those challenges with the industry skills required.
With that in mind it was decided that the existing pig unit was no longer fit for purpose and had been replaced as part of a £1.2m farm development project. The new pig unit is a state of the art facility which reflects the technology and high welfare requirements of a commercial rearing system.
The new pig unit is on the edge of the farm in a fairly exposed site, so a variable ventilation system was going to be an essential part of the facility.
Several systems were installed as part of the development. Each of the 8 doors have been fitted with Agridoors. These are sectional, fast operating doors which can be fitted to the full height of the building allowing for maximum accessibility.
To allow for the greatest ventilation and versatility, a Variable Ventilation System (VVS) was installed along the full length of each side of the building. The VVS uses temperature, wind speed, wind direction and rain sensors to ensure that the climate within the building is continually optimised. This came in particularly useful earlier this year when high temperatures meant that the environment within the building needed to be constantly altered to allow for sun location and wind direction.
The shed is now being used by the college on a 3 week batch system.
Steve, the pig unit manager said:
“Using the VVS system means you can monitor and also make changes on the go. The recent very hot weather meant we could decide to shut curtains based on where the sun was in order to give the pigs shade, while opening the curtains on the opposite side to get air flow. The reverse was easily done as the sun moved round during the day.
The system also survived the storms earlier in the year, when we feared it may not, so proves how robust it is. It’s something we don’t have to worry about, on auto it just does it’s stuff. Perfect. I’ve not used a Galebreaker system before, although I have seen it on many British Quality Pork sheds in my time as a fieldsman. I would absolutely recommend them.”
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