Farm & livestock buildings: Can you make improvements?
“Well-designed farm and livestock buildings can have a lasting impact on animal health and productivity, so it is worth looking at your current set up and investing in any necessary improvements. Sarah Kidby from the Farmers Guide spoke to Riva Commercial about the benefits of insulation.
Optimising livestock buildings can help to reduce disease, improve animal welfare, and boost efficiency, as well as creating a better working environment for staff. While there are many factors to consider when it comes to good building design, AHDB states the three key environmental parameters are airspeed, moisture, and fresh air.
Proper insulation and ventilation are needed to maintain a stable temperature and prevent condensation caused by the heat and moisture animals produce through their breath, sweat, urine, and faeces. If heat is unable to leave the building, it will condense on cold surfaces inside, increasing humidity and making bedding cold and damp – creating a suitable environment for bacteria to thrive. Excess moisture in the air also escalates the risk of viruses and bacteria surviving outside the body, while reducing ambient temperature and increasing the need for bedding. As well as cutting down heating bills in winter and cooling costs in summer, Revivatherm insulation can reduce condensation on walls and ceilings by keeping surfaces warm.
Cattle need to maintain a constant body temperature of around 38ºC, and this can be affected by air temperature, radiant temperature, wind speed, and relative humidity, alongside animal factors such as size, feed level and type, and body condition. If temperatures fall below the lower critical temperature (LCT – minus 15ºC), feed will be channeled away from growth and milk production to keep animals warm. Insulation is important for tackling draughts, which will decrease the LCT considerably and cause loss of heat energy. Ventilation is also needed to remove heat and moisture from the building.