VIN’s for Hog Barns

Hog barns don’t come with owner’s manuals! Many of the readers of this blog have seen me present on this topic at various producer meetings this past year. In the past 2 weeks I’ve worked with several clients on a variety of facility related issues that have emphasized some of the items I have on my list of owner’s manual chapters.


Yesterday I was at a new wean-finish site with the new contract grower, several of his neighbors who have contract wean-finish barns, the electrician for these barns, production company field supervisors, etc. One of the topics that arose is – what parts should the new grower plan on having on-hand for the fans, feed augers, curtain machines, etc. at the site.


The electrician raised some very good points in our discussion – the biggest one being most facility owners don’t have any type of listing of the specific equipment installed in their facilities. This adds to the cost of the repair bills when the electrician is called. In many cases, if the facility owner could supply the electrician (or other service personnel) with specific equipment lists, some service calls could be eliminated as the service person could trouble shoot the problem with the owner in a telephone call, or at least come to the site with the correct repair parts.


I visit 50-80 different pig production sites in any given year, and I can’t recall a site where the owner/employee could furnish me with a listing of fan model numbers, etc. I’ve spent countless hours looking at worn fan faceplates trying to make out model numbers, etc. when I’m trying to figure out ventilation problems. With controllers, many times I have no idea of how they are linked to slave units, or with some brands of controllers, which stage of ventilation is wired into what ventilation circuit.


This electricians recommendation (and it’s a good recommendation) is that every swine facility should have an as-installed equipment list. For fans – make, model, size, shaft diameter, etc. For feed augers, replacement motor details. For ventilation controllers – brand and model. And the list can go on and on, but you get the idea.


When you buy an automobile or pickup, it comes with a VIN. Using that VIN code, any mechanic can determine what the original equipment in the vehicle was, and get some idea of where to start on any type of repair process.


Wouldn’t it be nice if hog barns came with VIN’s? An as-installed equipment list is the next best thing.

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