It seems like most of the country has been hit with a heat wave. It’s caused many problems and has touched almost everyone’s life. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, work in a hospital or on a farm, the heat has had an impact on your life this summer.
This week has been one of the hottest weeks in our area. As a livestock farmer, the heat creates more work for us because we want to make sure our livestock are kept comfortable. Thanks to technology, our job of keeping our hogs cool in our barns is made much easier. We have computer controlled fans, water drippers and cool cells (cool cells are a lot like air conditioners in our homes) to help us keep our hogs cool. This technology has been a big benefit to the comfort of our hogs. Hogs can not sweat to cool their bodies and 100+ degree temperatures and heat indexes over 113 degrees fahrenheit are very hard on hogs. If our hogs were outdoors, we wouldn’t be able to keep them as cool and comfortable as they are inside our barns.
In years past, when we did have hogs outdoors, we would lose many hogs to the heat. No matter how often we watered the hogs down, no matter how much shade we tried to provide for the hogs, we would still lose hogs due to the hot weather. Our barns have helped us overcome the challenge of heat. The cool concrete also helps cool the hog’s body as well.
Our son, Conner, discovered how much the hogs like laying on the concrete last week as he was preparing his hog for the county fair hog show. While Conner was trying to walk his hog, the hog kept laying down. Once the concrete became warm from the hog’s body heat, the hog would get up and walk to find another cool spot on the concrete to lay down. While Conner found this frustrating, the hog was content to lay down and keep cool on the concrete. Conner thought his hog was being lazy at first. Once Conner sat on the concrete next to his hog to rub the hog’s belly, he discovered for himself how cool the concrete was and how nice it really did feel to sit down on the cold floor and cool off.
We are very thankful on our farm for the use of technology. Without it, our hogs would not be nearly as cool, and we would be losing many of our hogs due to the excessive heat we are having. Please be careful during this heat wave and remember to drink plenty of water. One of the biggest mistakes we as farmers and ranchers make is forgetting to take care of ourselves. And I know this doesn’t go for just farmers. Many of us, no matter what our chosen career field, forget to take care of ourselves during excessive heat.