Pig Cooling Mats Invented by Purdue Ag Professors Win National Award – 95.3 MNC

The IHT cooling mats on display at the 2024 World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo courtesy of IHT Group.

A product developed by two professors at the Purdue University College of Agriculture for cooling hogs during hot weather recently won a national award.

IHT Cooling Mats won the Producer’s Choice Award at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. The technology was designed by Allan Schinckel, Purdue professor of animal sciences, and Robert M. Stwalley III, clinical associate professor in Purdue’s Department of Agricultural & Biological Engineering.

In 2023, IHT Group of Winnipeg, Manitoba, signed an exclusive license to produce and sell the pads in North America.

The IHT cooling mats were introduced as part of the National Hog Farmer’s 2024 New Product Tour at the World Pork Expo.

These innovative cooling mats help reduce heat stress, promote sow performance, improve boar breeding success and improve overall animal welfare. Designed with durability and ease of use in mind, the mats provide a practical and effective solution for pork producers looking to optimize their operations.

Robert Stwalley
Dr. Robert M. Stwalley III, clinical associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Technology at Purdue University, shows a cooling pad designed to keep pigs cool. IHT Group of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has signed an exclusive license to produce and sell the pads in North America. Source: Purdue Ag Communications photo / Tom Campbell.

IHT Group President Chris Grant highlighted the wider impact of these cooling mats: “By investing in IHT Cooling Mats, pig producers are demonstrating their commitment to animal welfare, improving their brand reputation and market positioning. Our innovative cooling mats reduce heat stress, improve production and increase animal welfare. After rigorous testing, we created a cooling mat that has delivered incredible results for both sows and boars.”

The New Product Tour was presented during the Global Hog Industry Virtual Conference on May 22. A panel of pork industry experts reviewed and evaluated products based on their benefits to producers and the industry. Company representatives presented their products in a format similar to ‘Shark Tank’ on TV, followed by a question and answer session with the judges. Online voting for the Producer’s Choice Award took place at the National Hog Farmer site and at the National Hog Farmer Booth at the World Pork Expo.

Groundbreaking research results

Several studies have validated the effectiveness of cooling pad technology. A study published in the Journal of Animal Science has shown that electronically controlled cooling pads (ECP) significantly reduce the negative impact of heat stress on sow productivity and litter growth. Sows with access to ECPs showed a notable decrease in respiration rate and maximum daily body temperature, along with a notable increase in litter growth performance.

Research in bears found that bears using ECPs had a higher percentage of morphologically normal sperm, indicating improved sperm quality. This improvement can lead to higher fertilization rates and healthier litter, increasing farm productivity.

Combating heat stress: a billion-dollar problem

Heat stress is a major problem for the swine industry, costing the U.S. swine industry approximately $900 million annually. Pigs are prone to overheating, which leads to serious long-term performance degradation. IHT Cooling Mats tackles this challenge and offers a solution that improves milk production, breathing rate, feed intake and the overall health and growth of piglets.

The benefits also extend to boars, with improved semen quality and higher conception rates, leading to greater farm productivity and genetic gain. A study from Purdue University found that reducing the amount of waste in a stable of 300 bears could increase monthly revenue by more than $19,000.

Transforming the future of pig farming

IHT Cooling Mats represent a revolutionary approach to managing heat stress in the pork industry. By adopting these mats, pork producers are improving their farms and setting new standards for animal welfare and management. Join us on this innovative journey to transform pig farming step by step.

Sources: IHT Group, Purdue University College of Agriculture