Influence of hot-humid environment on growth performance and reproduction of swine
Environmental temperatures above the zone of thermoneutrality (comfort zone) for swine are frequent in tropical and subtropical regions, and during the summer months in temperate regions.
These warm environmental conditions do not usually result in death losses, but they can cause reduced growth performance in growing-finishing pigs and decreased reproduction in the breeding herd.
In general, pigs try to minimize the effects of heat stress by two major methods. These include an increase in heat dissipation and a reduction in heat produced from body metabolism. To increase heat dissipation, pigs will increase their body surface area by sprawling out to increase contact with a cool surface like a floor. Pigs will also increase heat dissipation by increasing respiration rate. The increase in respiration rate will increase the amount of air going in and out of the lungs. The increase in airflow increases evaporation of water from the lungs. The pig is thus cooled via a process called evaporative cooling. In humans, evaporative cooling takes place via sweating on the skin; pigs do not sweat.
High temperatures affect the feed intake and fertility of swine, and the article will also offer methods to minimise heat stress.
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Article made possible through the contribution of University of Florida.