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  • Publication
    Monitoring environmental parameters in poultry production facilities
    (Institute for Process and Particle Engineering, Graz University of Technology, Austria, 2013-04) ; ; ;
    Increases in fuel and feed prices are placing a significant burden on the poultry industry in Ireland and worldwide. For producers to meet their financial targets, increased performance and output is a key issue, now more than ever. To optimise performance in broiler production houses, the effect of environmental and air quality parameters on bird performance and energy consumption must be known to allow farmers make informed management decisions. This paper concentrates on the application precision livestock farming sensors to develop recommendations for improved bird performance and energy consumption in broiler production farms in Ireland.   Air temperature, relative humidity, light, air speed and air quality (in particular CO2 and NH3 concentrations) are identified as important parameters for improving bird performance and energy consumption in broiler production houses. Several of these parameters (temperature, relative humidity, CO2 and NH3) were monitored on two farms during the study over the initial 2 weeks of the production cycle. Air quality was often overlooked during the production process, as farmers struggled to limit high heating and feed costs. However, elevated levels of CO2 (>3000 ppm) did not appear to affect broiler growth rates. Additionally, a strong correlation was observed between relative humidity and NH3 (R2 = 0.86 - 0.92). Producers tend to use relative humidity as an indication for NH3 levels and the research shown in this study confirms the close relationship between the two parameters. It is recommended that further data should be gathered from producing units and novel performance technologies should also be investigated.