Agricultural heat pads
Heat pads consume 70 per cent less power than traditional heat lamps and have lower annual energy and maintenance costs.
Heat pads are fibreglass mats embedded with heating elements. They form a warm bed midway along one side of the farrowing crate. Compared to heat lamps, heat pads offer an improved environment for piglets and sows. They have a higher initial cost than heat lamps, but heat pads use about one-third the electricity and last up to 15 years, compared with only 5,000 hours for a heat lamp.
In comparison with traditional heat lamps, heat pads provide the following benefits:
- larger comfort area that minimizes piglet piling;
- piglets tend not to seek warmth from the mother sow, which reduces crushing losses;
- piglets are protected by blocking drafts rising through the grating floors of the farrowing crates;
- sows can stay cooler, eat more, and produce more milk;
- pads can be washed down with a high-pressure washer, and last up to 15 years;
- the potential fire hazards of heat lamps and broken lamps are eliminated;
- lower energy and maintenance costs;
- piglets raised on heat pads show no significant difference in weight gain and mortality when compared with those raised on heat lamps;
- piglets show a preference for the comfort and warmth of heat pads;
- quick evaporation of birth fluid on newborns.