Agricultural Heating & Cooling - Elite Agri Solutions

Agricultural Heating & Cooling

Jon Jon|Mar 27, 2023

Elite Agri Solutions strives to provide background information on topics which are hard to research. In cases where no reputable print resources were available for us to reference, we interviewed industry experts, so it is inevitable that the contents of this document will contain inaccuracies and bias. Use this as a resource to help you ask the right questions, not as a source of definitive answers. Elite Agri Solutions and its employee will not be responsible for the consequences of any decision made based on this guide. Where text or data has been copied directly, the sources have been noted, otherwise it can be assumed that all the information in this guide has only been curated by Elite Agri Solutions and is not our original property.

Much of the information summarized in this document is from OMAFRA’s Publication 833 Ventilation For livestock and Poultry Facilities. This resource is an excellent resource for troubleshooting existing or designing new ventilation. Most people don’t know that the publication exists because it is only offered in print and must be found in the bowels of the Publications Ontario Website. We would highly recommend you order a copy of the guide for yourself.

Information was also gathered from equipment manufacturers and agriculture extension agencies other than OMAFRA.


Propane (Liquified Petroleum Gas) & Natural Gas

Generally natural gas and propane appliances can be modified to burn either gas. Typically, burner orifices, pressure regulators and piping may have to be changed. Currently natural gas is by far the cheapest fuel source in Ontario and piping networks are available to many rural customers. Pricing for natural gas is either based on the spot market or on a contracted price.

Propane is the second most popular option for Ontario Farmers. It is delivered from a local propane distributer by truck to a bulk tank on the farm that is sized accordingly. Prices are set by the local distributer and contracting options are typically not available.

The Gas Code CAN/CSA-B149.1 (Canadian Gas Association, Natural Gas Installation Code Section 6.20 for forced air heaters and 6.21 for infrared heaters) allows gas fired heaters to vent straight into the barn. The Gas Code requires that fresh makeup air is supplied at the rate of 4 CFM/1,000 BTU/h (input) while the heater is operating. An air proving switch is required on the minimum ventilation fan to interlock the heating system if it is to be vented into the room. Gas fired heaters that are efficient and properly adjusted should only produce water vapour and carbon dioxide, ill adjusted heaters can produce dangerous quantities of carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons.

If heaters are to be vented outside, the exhaust must be a minimum distance from the fresh air intake. Your heating equipment installer and gas fitter should be knowledgeable in the gas code, so make sure they are aware of where air inlets will be located.

Barn air contains contaminants that can expedite the corrosion and decay of heater components, particularly when barn air is used for combustion instead of fresh air. This dictates a higher level of maintenance and regular inspection to ensure proper operation.

Unvented heaters have the advantage of loosing no heat through the exhaust flue, however the added moisture and CO2 in the air can make air quality conditions unsuitable and require additional ventilation. A study of vented and unvented infrared heating systems (ASAE Paper 02-4220,2002) shown that there is little net cost benefit to venting exhaust gases inside a barn.


Typical biomass heat systems utilize boiler systems, though systems using forced air heat exchangers are on the market as well. If operating a system under 3MW (10 230 000 Btu/h) the Ontario Publication “Controlling air emissions from small wood-fired combustors” and Provincial Guideline A-14 will apply to you.  Systems typically have automated fuel supply and ash removal. Small, dry and consistent feedstocks are preferred for best efficiency and minimal management.

Wood Pellets High cost, uniform energy content and easy to handle
Wood Waste Lower energy cost but more difficult to handle
Biofuel Pellets (e.g. Switchgrass) High cost and easy to handle
Shelled corn & Grains High cost and easy to handle


Large amounts of ash are produced by biomass systems that must be disposed of.

Forestry waste in the form of large irregular chips can be attractively priced, but the density and handling ability of the product may make it less economical if it must be trucked significant distances.


Passive solar heat is the most common use of solar energy for livestock facilities. It can often be seen in the form of elongated weather hoods over air intakes that have black steel or plastic installed on the south facing wall. The black solar collector is perforated so that air is warmed as it passes through the panel. Other systems use transparent panels with a black solar collector suspended behind it. Air in the plenum passively rises as it is heated, exiting into the barn at ceiling height and draws cold air from the floor into the plenum through a second opening. If the barn is naturally ventilated, clear plastic on a properly designed south wall allows sunlight to penetrate the barn and provide natural radiant heat.

Active solar systems rely on circulating a liquid medium (usually glycol and water) though a series of tubes or collector panels. The heated liquid is pumped through tubes suspended in a water tank which stores heat and circulates the warmed water through in floor or radiant tube heaters. Active systems are usually quite expensive and have higher efficiency than passive systems.


Electric heaters acceptable for use in animal areas include heat lamp, heat pads, quartz tube radiant heaters, heating cable and boiler systems. Space heaters and base board heaters are only allowed to be used in approved non-animal spaces. Electric heat is not a very economical way to heat in Ontario, so typically electric heat will be limited to localized areas for immature livestock.

Fuel Oil

Fuel oil systems are rarely used anymore, traditionally it was only used for boiler type systems. If one is to be installed in a new barn, ensure that it is of the highest efficiency possible.



Geothermal systems recover heat existing in either the ground or bodies of water and pump that heat via a fluid to heat air inside a building. A heat pump works similarly to a refrigeration unit in reverse. The refrigerant gas is compressed, which naturally heats up the gas, this hot gas is passed through a heat exchanger inside the building loosing some of its heat. Outside the building, the gas is decompressed which decreases its temperature further. The gas then passes through a heat exchanger in the geothermal medium and is warmed up to be equal with the ground temperature. The slightly warm gas then is compressed which adds more heat and cycle begins again.

The point of using a compressor and expansion (decompression) valve instead of just circulating the liquid, is to increase the difference in temperature between the refrigerant gas and the condition outside the heat exchanger. Inside the barn if the gas is much hotter than the air temperature heat transfer will be very efficient. Like wise, lowering the temperature of the gas before it meets the ground increases the difference between the ground and the gas allowing more heat to be picked up. Supplementary heat sources may be required, but heat pumps are an extremely efficient way to recover heat when large heat differentials exist.


Qualitative Comparison of Heating Types[i]

Advantages Disadvantages
Propane/Natural Gas
·      Inexpensive to purchase and install the heaters. 

·      Very clean burning fuel

·      Natural gas has traditionally been the lowest cost fuel

·      Potential to obtain long term price contract

·      Gas fitting and maintenance is expensive 

·      Gas leaks are dangerous, and maintenance is critical

·      Natural gas is not always available at farm site

·      Due to corrosive nature of the barn environment, regular maintenance of heaters is essential

Electric Heating
·      Inexpensive to purchase install and maintain heater units 

·      Provides a clean, dry form of heat

·      100% efficient at farm site

·      Control is simple and effective

·      Staging is easily implemented

·      Incentive programs available for increased efficiency

·      Can obtain contracts for up to five-year price protection

·      Good temporary source of heat

·      Fuel price is relatively high compared to other fuel sources 

·      Electrical service and wiring are very expensive

·      Maintenance is critical to reduce the risk of fire and deteriorated electrical connections and components

Fuel Oil
·      Readily available supply across Ontario ·      Exhaust must be vented outside 

·      Less efficient

·      Requires more maintenance

·      Only available in boiler systems

·      Renewable energy source 

·      Low operating costs

·      Provides domestic hot water and space heating

·      Incentive programs available

·      High capital cost for either electric service or heat pump system 

·      Large amount of piping required and or a large reservoir of water requires electricity to operate.

·      Access to a readily available fuel source at a reasonable price 

·      Environmentally friendly heating system


·      Fuel supply is not consistent, and price fluctuates 

·      Fuel supply requires significant storage and handling space

·      More labour intensive

·      May require a ministry of environment certificate of approval (C of A)

·      Heating systems requires more management and maintenance

·      Control is complicated

Passive Solar Heat
·      Free energy source whenever sun shines 

·      Easy to install and maintain

·      Very easy to control and manage

·      Dependent on sunshine (no heat storage) 

·      Requires a summer air bypass to prevent undesired heating of ventilation air

Active Solar Heat
·      Free energy source whenever sun shines 

·      Systems can incorporate heat storage to lengthen time frame for heating benefit

·      More complex to install with pumps piping, storage and distribution 

·      More complex control system required

·      Increased maintenance required


Heating Energy of Various Fuel Sources.[ii]

Fuel Source Total Heat Content BTU/unit Burning Efficiency Fuel Quantity Required for 1,000,000 BTUs
Natural Gas 35,500 BTU/m3 75% to 82% 35.9 m3
Propane 24,000 BTU/L 70% to 82% 53.1 L
Fuel Oil 36,200 BTU/L 70% to 78% 37.3 L
Electricity 3413 BTU/kWh 100% 293.0 kWh
Wood Hardwood 29 x 106 BTU/cord 55% to 70% 0.06 cord
Softwood 17.7 x 106 BTU/cord 55% to 70% 0.09 cord
Mixed 23.4 x 106 BTU/cord 55% to 70% 0.07 cord
Pellets 18.8 x 106 BTU/tonne 70% to 80% (High Tech) 0.07 tonne
Shelled Corn 392,000 BTU/bushel 70% to 80% 3.4 bushels
Corn Stover 16.6 x 106 BTU/tonne 50% to 65% 0.10 tonne
Straw 14.4 x 106 BTU/tonne 50% to 65% 0.12 tonne

System Types

Radiant Heat

Radiant heaters transmit their heat as electromagnetic waves that are turned into heat when they are absorbed by an object. In this way, the floor animals and other objects in the room are heated directly, and the air is in turn heated by convection from contact with them. Radiant heaters are cost effective and provide suitable environments for livestock.  Particularly for brooding poultry and nursery pigs, radiant heaters are effective at providing microclimates in floor temperature, closer or further away form the heater. This allows sensitive livestock to find the temperature zone optimal for their comfort.

Hot Water Heat

Expansion tank: 100% of the calculated volume of entire system

Automatic temperature control and zone control uses thermostatically controlled valves to regulate flow to specific rooms or zones.

Isolation valves are useful before and after components that may need to be removed for service.

Control valves can be used to manually adjust the flow rates through a circuit to control room temperature.

Drain and vent valves are needed if the system is to be drained.


Heat Output from Standard (Schedule 40) Bare Steel Pipe ((BTU/h)/ft or W/m)[iii]

Nominal Pipe Size Temperature Difference Between Pipe and Surrounding Air () Pipe Volume
mm in. 40 50 60 70 80 90 L/m gal/ft
19 0.75 0.28 0.023
25 1.0 55 70 90 110 130 150 0.56 0.045
32 1.25 70 90 110 135 160 190 0.97 0.078
38 1.5 80 100 130 160 185 220 1.32 0.106
50 2.0 100 120 160 190 220 260 2.16 0.174
75 3.0 150 180 220 270 320 380 4.77 0.384


Guide to Heating Levels for Various Farm Applications

Floor Temperature () Heat Output (W/m2) Heat Output (BTU/ (h ft2))
Shop Floors 25-30 150-200 48-64
Hog Barns 30-35 200-250 64-80
Baby Pig Creeps 35 250-300 80-96
Broiler and Brood Turkey 30-35 200-250 64-80
Dairy Milking Parlour Floor 30-35 200-250 64-80


Recommended Maximum Pipe Loop Lengths

Length of Pipe Loop Pipe Diameter
100 ft 30 m 0.50 in. 12 mm
200 ft 60 m 0.75 in. 19 mm
325 ft 100 m 1.00 in. 25 mm
500 ft 150 m 1.25 in. 32 mm


T-Table Approximate Heater Sizing Calculations Chart[iv]

T-Tables provide an approximate value for determining heating loads for


Benefits Drawbacks
Gas Fired Low Intensity Infrared Tube Heaters 

·       25,000 – 250,000 BTU/h per unit


·       Low installation and equipment costs 

·       Comparable operating costs to hot water systems

·       Efficient multiple stage models available

·       Outdoor air supply limits corrosion

·       Outdoor exhaust maintains barn air quality

·       Heats the floor level reducing the capacity needed for circulation fans

·       Usually single or double stage units are installed, limiting fine tuning 

·       Interfere with ventilation patterns if mounted too close to air inlets

High Intensity Gas Heaters 

·       3,430-30,000 BTU/h per unit

·       Very high burn temperature 

·       Excellent for partial room brooding

·       Circular pattern cast on floor with various heat zones allowing animal to find their own comfort

·       Typically, suspended and able to be moved up or down to accommodate flock growth

·       Burn gas within the building 

·       High maintenance required to prevent carbon monoxide emission

Electric Radiant Quartz Tube 

·       1,700 – 34,000 BTU/h per unit

·       No expensive gas fitting required 

·       Modular units easily added

·       High intensity, used for partial room brooding

·       Does not produce exhaust gasses

·       Relatively high operating cost using electricity 

·       Additional heat needed for cold weather operation.

Electric Heat Lamps ·       Useful for small areas needing creep heating like farrowing rooms, lambing barns and calf nurseries 

·       Temperature zone varies out from centre of heat zone

·       Very low cost up front, so many small units can be installed exactly where they are needed

·       Temperature can be modulated by changing the distance above livestock


·       Possibility of overheating livestock if in continuous operation, need high temperature cut-out switch for summer operation 

·       Relatively high cost of using electricity

·       Much of the heat released by traditional goose neck bulbs is not radiant

Electric and Hot Water Heating Pads ·       Very energy efficient 

·       Conductive heat is transferred directly to livestock (typically swine)

·       Hot water pads can be utilized with any fuel source

·       Can become too hot if not monitored correctly so summer cut-out switches are recommended 

·       Fragile and can break if stepped on excessively

·       More extensive piping and control infrastructure needed with hot water pads


Forced Air (Box Heater) 

10,000 – 250,00 BTU/h

·       Uniformly distributed warm air environment 

·       Adjustable gas delivery reduces overshooting temperature set point when heating requirements are minimal

·       Typically located near the air inlet to warm incoming air.

·       Warms air up much quicker than radiant heat

·       Low cost equipment and installation

·       Exhaust is vented into room 

·       Creates a sizable obstruction to air flow and barn activities.

·       Temperature at ceiling height is warmer than at floor level


Hot Water ·       Any fuel source can be used for boiler 

·       Maintains barn air quality as all exhaust is directed outside

·       Very high efficiency commercial type boilers and condensing type boilers are recommended

·       Hot water distribution system can meet needs of buildings with various rooms or uses

·       Slow heat adjustment 

·       Expensive to purchase and install

·       Recirculation system is always operating

·       When not operating boiler for minimal heating needs, efficiency is reduced

·       Separate furnace room is required

Bare Pipe ·       Easy to clean 

·       Not easily damaged

·       Efficiency not severely impacted by dust build up

·       Usually installed under inlet to warm incoming air

·       Higher material and installation cost 

·       May need multiple loops for desired heat transfer

Fin Pipe ·       4-5 times better heat transfer than black pipe 

·       Suitable for small rooms than don’t have enough space for bare pipe

·       Lower material cost

·       Can be used in conjunction with bare pipe to provide more heat in a specific area

·       Fins are prone to collecting dust which severely reduces efficiency 

·       Fragile fins are easily damaged

Unit Heaters ·       Livestock rooms, shops, millhouses and other areas where a concentrated heat source is desired 

·       Forced air mixes air for even room temperature

·       No exhaust gases in the barn

·       Regular maintenance required to ensure heat exchanger does not become clogged with debris 

·       Relatively high unit cost

In floor ·       Even temperature distribution 

·       Highly efficient

·       Dries moisture off floor

·       No exhaust gases

·       Conducts heat directly to livestock who are in contact with the ground

·       Once warm concrete floor retains heat and ensures a stable temperature

·       Very slow to control 

·       Temperature reading at floor level usually much higher than air temperature

·       Expensive to install

·       Hard to warm air volume if a large draft is let in (door opens or an inlet malfunctions)

·       No alternative zone if temperature is to hot or too cool

·       Leaks require concrete to be torn up


Over Heating

Besides having a negative consequence on the pocketbook, overheating can reduce humidity levels too much in a barn. Dry air increases the risk of respiratory illness for livestock.


With increasing temperatures, increasing ventilation rates helps reduce the effects of heat stress on livestock. However, past a certain point the ambient temperature is so warm that animals transfer relatively little heat to the air passing over them. At this point, additional measures are required to maintain livestock body temperatures below the Upper Critical Temperature level.

Heat transfer

Heat transfers between animals and their environments in one of four ways:

Convection is the transfer of heat via the surrounding air, high velocity air transfers much more heat than still air.

Evaporation transfers heat by causing water to change phases from liquid to gas. The temperature of the water itself changes only slightly with phase change, but the amount of heat absorbed in the change is significant. Heat released by animals through respiration of water vapour is called latent heat.

Radiation is the exchange of thermal energy by electromagnetic waves, all objects are continually radiating heat to and from one another. Animals who are crowded together have a reduced ability to cool themselves with radiation because instead of transferring heat to cooler surfaces, heat is exchanged between animals. Poorly insulated ceilings and walls can be a large source of unwanted radiant heat if their temperature rises above the ambient temperature due to solar gain.

Conduction is the transfer of heat from direct contact of two objects with a difference in body temperatures.

Air Based Cooling

Air based cooling is based on the wind chill effect. That is, by increasing the air velocity at the animal level, the rate at which heat is removed from livestock is increased, decreasing the temperature experienced by the livestock.

High Inlet Velocity

As distance from air inlets increase, the effective velocity of the air decreases, therefore it is important to keep the inlet as close to the livestock as possible. A seven-foot ceiling can have an entrance velocity of 500ft/min while a ten-foot ceiling would require 1,000ft/min inlet speed to achieve the same velocity at the livestock level. Inlets should be designed so that they can drop open and direct the air flow towards the livestock. Modular inlets should be set so that they direct air along the ceiling to avoid drafting when the incoming air is cold and then be switched to operate so that they drop open and create a draft of high velocity air during warm weather. For a continuous slot baffle system, it is common to have a smaller upward opening baffle for cold weather ventilation and a large downward opening baffle, effective at guiding the air flow down to animal level.

Circulation Fan Cooling

In poultry barns, circulation fans are often used to mix air in minimum ventilation conditions in the winter months. The temptation may be to lower the fans to provide more aggressive air velocity at bird level during the summer months, a producer must be careful when doing this as it may disrupted primary air circulation patterns and remove large amounts of moisture from the litter, increasing room humidity to an unacceptable level.

In naturally ventilated barns it is common to have circulation fans installed as a back up for hot days when wind speeds are low. In buildings with limited structural clearance it is typical to use a series of downward pointing basket or panel fans spaced 10 times fan diameter and angled as to shoot the air at the ground directly below the next fan in the series. In dairy barns, panel or basket fans should provide 500-1,000 CFM/cow and air velocities in the range of 220-500 FPM, fans should be centered over feeding areas and stalls.

If enough structural clearance exists, high volume low speed fans should be used because of their extremely efficient operation. HVLS fans can be as efficient as 80 CFM/W while a leading 36-inch basket fan performs at 20 CFM/W. HVLS fans are available in diameters from 8-24ft. Typical operating speeds are 50 RPM, so a small motor is coupled to a reduction gearbox. Air is distributed in a circular pattern out from the center of the fan at 100-300 ft/min. Spacing can vary, but as a rule of thumb 24 ft fans should be spaced every 50-60ft down the centre of the barn. For optimal performance, fans should be equipped with a variable frequency drive, it is important that shielded cable and VFD filters be installed to limit electro-magnetic interference.

Tunnel Ventilation Cooling

In a tunnel system, large diameter exhaust fans mounted at one end of the barn and large inlets at the other move a “wall” of air rapidly down the length of a building.  Typically, a rate of at least 1 air change per minute is the target for these systems. Lower ceiling height, or ceiling hung baffles reduce the cross section of the barn and enable high velocities with less power consumption.  Tunnel ventilation is a good option only for maximum ventilation of less sensitive animals in long low barns. The wind-chill effects of tunnel ventilation are often complimented by an evaporative cooling pad mounted installed in the inlet opening of the barn.

Table 4

Design Parameters for Tunnel Ventilation[v]

Parameter Units Range Comments
Tunnel Velocity ft/min 200-500 200-300 is common – fans are staged to start at 100ft/min, then 2-3 more stage to full capacity
Inlet Opening Velocity ft/min 400-600 no more than double tunnel design velocity to minimize pressure drop
Target Static Pressure in. w.c. 0.06-0.08 target is higher for windier locations
Deflector Interval ft 50-100 usually 50-75 ft in poultry
Deflector Opening Velocity ft/min 400-600 usually double tunnel velocity


Water Based Cooling

Water can absorb large amounts of heat from the environment as it changes from liquid to gas. Every pound of water that is evaporated into the air removes approximately 1,000 BTU’s of heat energy from the air. Low pressure sprinklers add the least amount or relative humidity to the air (<5%), while high pressure and evaporative pad cooling systems add the most (10% – 30%). Ensure that no animal environment exceeds 80% relative humidity. Therefore, water-based cooling is only an effective method when relative humidity is less than 70%. The lower the ambient humidity, the more opportunity there is to vaporize water and remove heat from the room.

Table 5

Maximum Air Temperature Drop Possible due to Vaporizing Water[vi]

Ambient Temperature and Relative Humidity Potential Temperature Drop Caused by Vaporizing Water
10% RH Increase in Room 20% RH Increase in Room 30% RH Increase in Room
30  and 40% RH 2.2 4.3 6.0
30  and 50% RH 2.0 3.8 5.4
30 and 60% RH 1.8 3.4 Room RH too high
30 and 70% RH 1.6 Room RH too high Room RH too high


Table 6

Effect of Water Cooling on Pigs[vii]

Type of Cooling System Effective Temperature Decrease ()
Pad system -3.0
Fogger -3.0
Dripper -5.5
Sprinkler -5.5


Water for sprinkler systems utilizes the pressure of the existing well pump, usually systems operate at either 40PSI or 50PSI. Water is emitted from an overhead sprinkler system and a spinner distributes the droplets in a circular pattern 6-20 ft in diameter. Typically, sprinklers are installed every eight feet or to other manufacturer specifications, however instances exist where nozzle spacing may be dictated by pen spacing or stall arrangement. Sprinklers are used cyclically where they usually operate for short bursts and then shut off for 5-30 minutes. Sprinklers should be equipped with anti-drip valves that prevent wet spots under sprinklers during the off period and ensure all sprinklers start operating at the same time.  Air moving past the livestock will evaporate water off the animal’s body and an of the surrounding environment that has been wetted as well. Large enough droplets can trigger animals to stand up. If the animal is standing a greater area of the body is exposed for heat transfer and the surface of the floor where they were previously laying can be cooled as well. Sprinklers typically use less water than fogging, limiting the relative humidity of the air. Water droplets from a sprinkler however are more likely to hit the ground than a misting system, potentially wetting the floors and bedding significantly. Sprinklers can be used in either naturally ventilated or mechanically ventilated facilities.

Sprinkler systems can be used to control dust in poultry barn that have air quality issues caused by dusty feed and bedding.  In swine facilities sprinklers located over pens can help to establish dunging patterns.


Unlike sprinkler cooling where the water is evaporated off the animal’s body, misting systems evaporate the water directly into the air, cooling the entire air space. Most misters operate at a high pressure and require expensive high-pressure pumps and plumbing. The nozzles that produce the mist have very small openings and will quickly become clogged if water has a high mineral content. Multiple stage filters are used to help reduce this issue and must be regularly maintained to avoid costly system repair. In mechanically ventilated barns water nozzles are typically located close to the air intakes to cool incoming air. In naturally ventilated barns misters can be affixed to circulation fans, effectively directing the cool air where it is needed. Depending on the relative humidity of incoming air, more water might be added to the air then what can be evaporated, in this case water will precipitate to the barn floor.

Evaporative Cooling Pad

Typically used with mechanical tunnel ventilation systems, evaporative cooling pads cool the incoming air like a misting system but do not operate under high pressure and non-evaporated water is not introduced into the barn environment. An evaporative pad consists of a fibrous material that is corrugated to allow air movement to pass between plies. A water supply system operates at low pressure and keeps the corrugated material saturated with water while the air is drawn through it. The thickness of the laminations reduces the net inlet area and the added friction of air flow through the pad should be accounted when sizing the air inlet for tunnel ventilation. Oversizing the evaporative cooling inlet when compared to a non-restricted tunnel inlet ensures that the fans operate at an appropriate static pressure. Cooling pads are usually located in the inlet opening and are directly exposed to the outdoors. Care must be taken to ensure the system is winterized every fall, and the fibrous material must be maintained to prevent build up of mineral deposits and algae growth. If properly setup, this system will use exactly as much water as a properly adjusted misting system. That is, water is evaporated into the air right up to the threshold humidity level, realizing the maximum cooling possible without wasting water.


Comparison of Various Cooling Systems[viii]

Type Relative Volumes of Water Required Capital Costs Operating and Maintenance Costs
50PSA Low Pressure Sprinklers/Drippers Low Low Low
200 PSI Mid Pressure Sprinkler Medium Medium Low
1,000 PSI High Pressure Mist High High High
Evaporative Cooling Pad High High High
Air Conditioner None Very High Very High


Cooling Systems Applications

Facility Cooling Systems Design Notes Control Notes
Free Stall Barn ·       Low pressure sprinklers with circulating fans 

·       Combined sprinkler mist

·       Integrated with fan circulation system 

·       Locate so drops are in alleyways only, away from stalls and feed

·       At 25 start dripping for 3 min every ½ hr 

·       At 35 increase to 10 min every ½ hr

Holding Pen ·       Low pressure sprinklers with circulating fans 

·       Combined sprinkler mist

·       At 25 start sprinkling for 1 min every 5 min 

·       At 35 increase to 2 min every 10 min

Tie Stall Barn ·       Optional high-pressure mis or evaporative cooling pad ·       Not commonly used ·       At 25 start sprinkling for 15 sec every 30 min 

·       At 35 increase to 2 min every 10 min

Heifer Barn ·       Low pressure drippers 

·       Optional high-pressure mist or evaporative cooling pad

·       Cooling not generally used in heifer barns unless heifers are housed with mature cows ·       At 25 start sprinkling for 15 sec every 30 min 

·       At 35 increase to 2 min every 10 min

Calf Barn ·       Not recommended · ·
Swine Farrow Crates and Gestation Stalls ·       Low pressure drippers ·       1 per stall/crate 

·       Located to drip water onto sow neck or front of shoulder

·       At 25 start dripping for 3 min every 30 min 

·       At 35 increase to 10min every 30min

Swine Nursery ·       Not recommended · ·
Swine Finish and Sows in Pens ·       Low pressure sprinklers ·       Over slats only for partial slat barns 

·       Overdraft area or non-sleep area for full slat barns

·       Sprinkle for 15 sec every 30 min for dung control 

·       At 35 increase to 2 min every 10 min

Boar Studs ·       Low pressure drippers (stalls) or sprinklers (pens) 

·       Optional high-pressure mist or air conditioner system or evaporative cooling pad

· ·
Broilers ·       Low pressure sprinklers 

·       High pressure mist or evaporative cooling pad.

·       Locate so feeders do not get wet ·       No cooling birds under 21 days of age 

·       At 25 start sprinkling for 30 sec every 15min

·       At 35 increase to 1 min every 3 min

Broiler breeder ·       Low pressure sprinklers 

·       High pressure mist or evaporative cooling pad

·       Locate so feeders do not get wet ·       At 25℃ start sprinkling for 30 sec every 15min 

·       At 35℃ increase to 1 min every 3 min

Turkey Brood ·       Not recommended o o
Turkey Grow ·       Low pressure sprinklers 

·       High pressure mist or evaporative cooling pad

·       Locate so feeders do not get wet ·       At 25℃ start sprinkling for 30 sec every 15min 

·       At 35℃ increase to 1 min every 3 min

Turkey Breeder ·       Low pressure sprinklers 

·       High pressure mist or evaporative cooling pad

·       Locate so feeders do not get wet ·       At 25℃ start sprinkling for 30 sec every 15min 

·       At 35℃ increase to 1 min every 3 min

Layer ·       High pressure mist or evaporative cooling pad ·       Locate near inlets and far enough from cages to prevent drips on birds ·       At 30 ℃ start sprinkling for 1 min on, 10 min off 

·       At 35℃ increase to 2 min on 2 min off

Pullet ·       Not recommended o ·


Low Profile Cross Ventilated Dairy Barns

Developed in the Midwest US, this barn is designed on the concept that an eight-row wide dairy barn takes up less space and is better ventilated than two, four row naturally ventilated barns. A curtained inlet is located at one side of the barn and a bank of exhaust fans is located at the other side. Air is drawn across the width of the barn. Baffle curtains installed above stalls restrict the air to 7-8 ft above the cows, increasing air speed at cow level.


[i] (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs , 2010)

[ii] (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs , 2010)

[iii] (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs , 2010)

[iv] (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs , 2010)

[v] (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs , 2010)

[vi] (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs , 2010)

[vii] (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs , 2010)

[viii] (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs , 2010)

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Our team is committed to understanding your goals, and we will work hard to tailor our services to meet your needs. Contact us today and see how we can work together to meet your farm and business needs.