Barn Gas Monitoring with Automated Ventilation Control - Ontario Pork - Active Research

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Active Research

Ontario Pork has a call for research proposals once a year. These projects were approved for funding by the board on recommendation of the research committee. If you have questions or need further information about the research posted here please contact Jessica Fox at

Active Research

Barn Gas Monitoring with Automated Ventilation Control

Barn Gas Monitoring with Automated Ventilation Control

Project 18-006 - Lead Researcher: John Van de Vegte, OMAFRA

Pig barns typically manage barn environmental conditions through the monitoring of temperature only. The temperature level relative to a set threshold, controls barn ventilation and heating rates. However, a number of environment parameters which are not routinely monitored but can have a significant impact on the air quality, comfort and safety experienced by the pigs and stockpeople.

Methane, hydrogen sulphide, ammonia, carbon dioxide and relative humidity are all critical parameters which should be monitored and controlled in pig barns.  Previous research has demonstrated that methane levels in a pig barn can easily exceed lower explosive limit concentrations if barn ventilation is not adequately controlled, greatly increasing the risk of barn fire.

This project will focus on the development and testing of wireless hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, carbon dioxide and relative humidity sensors in order to provide a full picture of the barn’s environment. Real time and past data will be accessible at the base station (located in the barn office or house) and via the internet/phone log in. The monitoring system will be able to send out alarms in the form of emails or texts if safe thresholds for any of the barn gases measured are exceeded. A second phase of the project will demonstrate wirelessly linking the system to a barn’s ventilation control to respond to elevated gas concentrations. As well as creating the monitoring system, another project outcome will be to quantify the benefit of monitoring and controlling barn gases on swine health and growth.

Researcher Profile: John Van de Vegte, OMAFRA

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