The type of ventilation used by farmers can make a world of difference when it comes to the air quality within their facilities. The quality of air that the animals breathe is of great importance to the health of the herd. Of course, air quality tolerance levels are even less when you bring the human factor into the equation. When workers are inside the dairy barns for 8 to 10 hours per day this must be a consideration. During the Winter months the cooling aspect of ventilation is not as necessary as during the Summer months, but ventilating the areas within your facility are still quite important for the health of the environment. Next, we will mention acceptable levels of particulates in the atmosphere and use this information as a guide to determine the recommended ventilation type and required air movement or CFM (cubic feet per minute) by the exhaust fan, ceiling fans, air circulator fans or blowers to be used.
Gases In The Atmosphere
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) is one of the most hazardous gases to humans and animal alike that are produced within the dairy farm.The acceptable concentrations of these gases at ceiling level is 20 PPM (parts per million). When agitating a manure pit in the barn the concentrations of the H2S gases can increase dramatically. During agitation it is recommended that no animals or humans are present in the building due to this fact. Other gases that are commonly found on the farm and its buildings are; Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Ammonia (NH3), and Methane (CH4). These aforementioned gases are also quite harmful to both humans and animlas alike when in high enough concentrations.
The animals on a farm are penned and can not just leave the building when they sense that these gas levels are to high and harmful to their health. This is why air quality is of such great importance year round. In the end, production levels are ultimately dependent on the health of your animals, and if the air quality is poor this can greatly affect production.
Here Are Some Air Quality Recommendations
Air quality will typically be better when the atmosphere within the environment is dryer. The risk of disease to the animals and or workers increase as the levels of dust, gases and other particulates increase. Exhaust fans help to introduce fresh air into the facility, while simultaneously removing stale air. Alongside the exhaust fan, the use of air circulation fans will help stir the air to create a dryer and cooler space. You may want to consider increasing the all around ventilation in your building(s) if you are noticing an increase in illnesses within your animal herds and workers.
Finally, your exhaust fans, circulator fans or ceiling fans should be cleaned before the cold weather sets in so that they are working at there optimum efficiency during the Winter months.