Submitted to: Transactions of the ASAE
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/30/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: The environment of a farm animal influences the animal's ability to grow, its ability to adapt, and its ability to resist disease. Two animals in the same pen may experience totally different environments due to wetting, posture differences, and air flow variations. This research used tympanic temperature measurements in growing finishing swine to objectively characterize the environment. The method developed is based on changes in the tympanic temperature record that occurred as a result of heat generation at meal events and heat loss to the environment. The process applied mathematical analytical techniques to establish the correspondence of environmental influence to ear temperature changes. Results of this work will allow producers to better assess the required environmental changes needed to optimize performance and welfare aspects of production systems.
Technical Abstract: A method of estimating the relative heat loss of animals based on tympanic temperature transient analysis was developed and tested using swine. The decay characteristics of a tympanic temperature spike were determined for three thermal environments: 28 deg C with a low air speed; 28 deg C with a high air speed; and 18 deg C with low air speed. Each suitable temperature espike was processed by a statistical curve-fitting algorithm generating a thermal index value, K, providing an integrated measure of the energy exchanges between the animal and its environment. Analyses show that the environment of 28 deg C with a low air speed is significantly different (P less than 0.05) than the other two treatments. The thermal index, based on the biological response of the animal using noninvasive measures, provides an objective measure of the effect of a given thermal environment.