Step-Down Water Filtration 0


Step-Down Filtration systems improve sediment removal from the water sources used in livestock and poultry production.


Removing the sand, dirt, and organic matter is an essential first step in enhancing water quality. After removing the sediment, the water is further sanitized with chlorine dioxide or bleach to kill any pathogens.

Mesh & Micron

Here are some comparisons of standard mesh sizes and microns. Note the mesh sizes in parenthesis are not economically feasible to manufacture for farm use.



Step-Down Filtration

Unless the water source is extremely sediment free, most farms will benefit from installing a Step-Down system consisting of two filters.




The first step is a filter with a reusable screen between 60 and 140 mesh and easy-to-use flush valve. The idea is to trap the larger sediment, flush it often and prevent these particles from plugging the smaller filter downstream. One of the best examples of a first step filter is the Rusco Spin-Down® filter. The clear housing makes it easy to tell when the filter is full and open the ball valve to quickly purge trapped sediment.  The reinforced polyester screen can be cleaned and reused.



The second step is determined by the watering or metering equipment is being used. Here are some recommended filter sizes for various types of equipment.


Poultry drinkers – 20 microns

Swine drinkers – 140 mesh

Medicators – 200 mesh

Evaporative Cooling Systems – 12 to 24 mesh


For hog facilities, the second stage could easily be another flushable filter with a finer 200 or 240 mesh screen. For poultry houses, the second filter is typically a housing style that uses disposable cartridge filters to reach the recommended 10-50 microns. There are several types to choose from:


Cartridge Filters

The most common and least expensive is a string wound filter manufactured with polypropylene cord. The manufacturing process creates distinct layers with looser wraps on the surface progressing to tighter layers near the core. Larger particles are trapped on the exterior to reducing plugging the denser interior layers. It is common for the string layers to separate over time allowing particles bigger than their specified rating to pass through.

A second type is a spun poly or melt blown cartridge made by blowing molten polymer over a spinning core. Known as gradient density filter, the media size gradually gets smaller towards the core. This type of filter maintains its micron rating better than string wound filters.

A third type is a pleated cartridge that is commonly manufactured using a polyester material.   Pleated cartridges have more surface area to trap sediment, do not require replacement as often and have a higher flow rate. 20-micron, 4.5″x 10″ string wound filter has a typical flow rate of around 12 gallons per minute compared to a pleated model rated as high as 20 gallons per minute

Smaller isn’t better.

The best advice is to install a filter media with as large as openings as possible that will still perform the task. The larger the opening, the less the screen or cartridge will need to be cleaned or replaced.


What’s all that gunk on my cool cell pads? 0


Allowing mineral deposits and algae to accumulate on evaporative pads will eventually clog the pad openings causing a restriction of the airflow into the building.


When water evaporates, pure water is released leaving behind mineral deposits on the cool cell pads. The single best way to prevent the accumulation of mineral deposits is proper water distribution. Steady water flow over the pad surface flushes away minerals left by evaporation. In a system that is operating correctly, you should see a steady trickle of water down the outside of the pads with no visible dry streaks.


1) Start with clean pads. Remove dirt and other debris from the pads using a soft brush and low-pressure hose end sprayer. To remove heavy deposits of mineral and scale use a chemical cleaner like Triple-C® by Proxy Clean. Avoid using high-pressure sprayers and harsh chemicals containing bleach which can damage the pad media.




2) Clean the spray bar. At the beginning of every season, open the ball valve on the pipe end; turn the pump on and flush water out the end. It is a good idea to mechanically scrub the inside of the pipe with a bottlebrush attached to a long PVC pipe. An inexpensive Clean-out Brush is also available with a slip coupling that glues directly to a ¾” PVC pipe. Run the brush through the pipe and turn the pump on to flush the system a second time.




3) Clean the sump. Flush the trough and sump as dirt and sand quickly cause filters to plug. Remove several sections of pad and check the trough covers. Some trough covers have only minimum drainage holes, which allow dirt and sand to accumulate.


4) Flush the filters. Install a ball valve on the filter clean out making it easy to remove trapped sediment. The screen element should be cleaned often and replaced every six to twelve months.


5) Flush don’t bleed. While “bleeding-off” is better than nothing, a much better practice is to dump all the water from the trough and replenish it with fresh water. The complete dumping helps to flush the containments out of the cool cell pads. How often the trough needs to be drained depends on the hardness of the water and how often the evaporative system operates. Monitoring the pH level is a useful method to determine when to change the water with readings above 8.5 indicating an excessive mineral buildup.



6) Check the pump size. Many times evaporative systems are extended without changing to a higher gallons per minute pump. Dry areas showing up at the end opposite the pump usually means an undersized pump. You can quickly check the pump size by using these general calculations:


4-inch pads require .50 gallons per minute per linear foot

6-inch pads require .75 gallons per minute per linear foot



Cool cell pads are the perfect environment for algae growth providing light, moisture, and nutrients. Algae growth can be limited by following a few important management practices.


1) Limit sunlight. Algae growth requires only a few hours of sunlight per day. Cover sumps and filter housings to prevent algae growth. Consider installing an awning or roof to shade the system.


2) Dry the pads. Allow the pads to dry completely once every 24 hours, as algae cannot live on a dry surface. If the system is not shutting down during the evening hours, it may be necessary to install a 24-hour timer.


3) Limit nutrient content. Water from deep wells or municipal systems is preferred over surface water. Water from ponds or shallow wells is typically higher in nutrients.


Only use chemical treatments approved for use with evaporative cooling systems. Bleach and many pool chemicals may damage the media and metal components. Don’t rely on chemicals to maintain an evaporative pad system. While the periodical use of descalers and algaecides may be helpful, there is no substitute for proper water flow and regular flushing of the system.


Simple guide for measuring fan V-Belts 0



Replacing the belts on fans every year is a smart investment to ensure they are delivering their maximum performance. Worn fan belts can cause as much as 20% loss of cfm output.

Ordering the correct replacement fan belt is as easy taking a few simple measurements.

V Belt comparsion (web)


First, to determine what type of belt is on your fan, measure the width of the belt. Most fan belts are A type belts with a measurement of 1/2″. If the fan belt measures 5/8″ it is classified as type B belt. You may see a belt described as type AX. The X means it has a cogged design or notches in the belt. The cogged profile increases the power transfer and typically used for only industrial applications because of their higher cost.


Next, you need to measure the length of the belt. Use a cloth measuring tape (not a steel one) and wrap it around the outside of the belt. You also use a thin string to take this measurement and place it on a steel tape to get the correct length.

Next, for “A” Belts (1/2” width) subtract two-inches from the outside measurement to select the correct V-belt. For example, if the outer measurement is 48-inches and you subtract two inches, then HSA46 would be the right belt for your fan.

For “B” Belts (5/8” width) subtract 3” from the outside measurement to select the correct V-Belt. For example, if the outer measurement is 48-inches and you subtract three inches, then HSB45 would be the right belt for your fan.

Hog Slat’s line of GroBelts offers producers a top quality V-belts at a great price. GroBelts feature wear resistant, high modulus compression rubber embedded with polyester cords to reduce stretch. To order go to GroBelts.


Also, see our Laser Pully Alignment Kit. At only $14.95 it’s a great tool to accurately check the alignment of the drive pulleys while you are changing the fan belts.

Solid sided finishing buildings…part 2 0

Solid wall ext_1540x800

The biggest benefit of solid sided finishing facilities may be the hardest to measure.


Recently we published an article highlighting some key factors contributing to the growing popularity of solid sided curtain finishing houses.   These included heat savings, reduced maintenance, and improved ventilation.


While the heat savings and reduced maintenance cost might be the easiest to track, the most significant benefit may come from improving the pig’s environment.


The tendency when hearing heaters running continuously on a cold winter morning (especially after paying the latest LP bill) is to start easing the variable speed down or lowering the “on” cycle time for the minimum winter fans. Simple logic; cut the minimum winter rate by half from 2 cfm/pig to 1 cfm, and reduce LP usage by half.


Unfortunately, this also increases the building’s relative humidity along with higher gas and dust levels. The poorer environment can cause slow growth and increase the pigs’ susceptibility to disease. In some cases, this decreased lung function will hurt performance throughout the pig’s production cycle. Lower ventilation rates can also jeopardize worker’s health and cause the building’s interior to deteriorate quicker.


Solid sided finishing buildings, with insulated sidewalls replacing curtains, do not reduce the amount of minimum ventilation required to provide a good environment. Instead, the higher R-value walls significantly reduce the amount of heat loss compared to a curtain. The BTUs normally generated to replace heat loss through the curtains can instead be exhausted through the fans to improve the building’s interior climate and pig performance.


To illustrate the amount of BTU lost through a curtain sided finisher compared to a solid sided building we calculated the heat loss for a typical sized single wide finishing unit.


Size: 1100 head

Dem: 41’ x 224’

Inside Temp: 70

Outside Temp: 30

Pig Size: 12 lbs.

Ceiling: R-30

5’ Curtain: R-1

3’ x6” Concrete Wall: R-5

5’ x6” Insulated Wall: R-19

Minimum ventilation rate: 2 cfm/head


Ventilation Heat Loss

1100 head x 2 cfm/head= 2,000 cfm

2,000 x 60 = 120,000 cf/hr

120,000 x (70-30) x.018                           = 86,400 BTU/Hr




Curtain Sided


Ceiling 41 x 224 = 9,184 sq. ft.

9184 x (70-30) / R-30                                = 12,245 BTU/Hr



End Walls 41x 8 x 2 = 656 sq. ft.

656 x (70-30) / R-19                                               = 1,381 BTU/Hr


Concrete side wall 2’ x 224 x 2 = 896

896 x (70-30) / 5                                         = 7,168 BTU/Hr


Curtain 5’ x 224’ x 2 = 2240

2240 x (70-30) / 1 =                                   = 89,600/ BTU/Hr





Solid Sided


Ceiling 41 x 224 = 9,184 sq. ft.

9184 x (70-30) / R-30                                = 12,245 BTU/Hr



End Walls 41x 8 x 2 = 656 sq. ft.

656 x (70-30) / R-19                                               = 1,381 BTU/Hr


Concrete side wall 2’ x 224 x 2 = 896

896 x (70-30) / 5                                         = 7,168 BTU/Hr


Insulated Side wall 5’ x 224’ x 2 = 2240

2240 x (70-30) / 19 =                                = 4,715/ BTU/Hr


When we compare the curtain heat loss (89,600 BTU/ Hr) to the heat loss through the solid wall building (4,715 BTU/Hr.) the difference is close to 85,000 BTU/ Hr.



The 85,000 BTU lost through curtain comes very close to equaling the amount of BTU exhausted through the ventilation system. To think of it another way, it’s like doubling the ventilation fans and not getting the benefits. BTUs lost through the building just disappear.   BTUs exhausted by the fans remove moisture and dust from the building creating a better growing environment for the pigs.





Upgrade your farm’s fire safety 0



Minimize the effects of fire losses in livestock and poultry buildings by following these basic guidelines and implementing a fire plan.


According to the U.S. Fire Administration, agricultural fires annually account for $102 million in property damage and result in 25 fatalities. One-third of these fires occur in livestock and poultry operations with larger production facilities increasing the potential for catastrophic losses from replacement costs and interruptions in production schedules.


Firestops or draft barriers

Firestops act as draft barriers to reduce the rapid spread of fire through an attic.   Firestops consist of using a flame resistant material, such as 5/8-inch rated sheetrock covering both sides of a truss that contacts the roofline. Since any openings in the barrier reduce its effectiveness, the sheetrock should be notch to fit around the purlins. Install firestops every 100 feet of building length.


Breakaway walkways

Use lightweight framing in the middle section of connecting hallways. If a fire breaks out in one building, a tractor and loader could be used to remove the center part preventing the fire from spreading to other buildings down the walkway.


Fire escape doors

Provide an exit door every 125 feet of the exterior wall to prevent areas where people could be trapped.   Individual farrowing and nursery rooms should include some type of exterior escape door; site fabricated “kick-out” door, 36”x 36” window, or narrow walk door.


Lighting protection

Any metal structures, such as bulk bins, located next to the buildings should be grounded with a ground rod for lightning protection. Install a surge protection device on the electric entrance panel.


Incinerator and generator

Incinerators should be 50 feet or more from the buildings. Generator rooms inside a building should include walls with a 2-hour fire rating to delay the spread of a generator fire.


Fire extinguisher

Install a 10-pound ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher at exterior doorways and electric panels.   Provide additional units every 100 feet of building length. Fire extinguishers need to be checked monthly by the farm personnel and annually by an outside source. Have spare extinguishers to replace any used until they are recharged.


Electrical systems

Return all repairs to the original installed condition. Three wire nuts and a roll of electrical tape, or whatever tape maybe handy, is a temporary fix but is often forgotten. Do not use electrical drop cords in place of permanent wiring. Do not bypass safety devices, sensors, breakers, fuses or other devices in a system; they are there for a reason.


Train all employees on how to cut off the electrical power to individual buildings and the location of the primary cutoff for the entire facility.



Heaters and brooders are probably responsible for more barn fires than any other single source. Maintain heaters in good working condition, inspecting and servicing the heater components frequently, removing flammable foreign material, such as rodent nests, insects, and dust. Inspect rubber gas hoses for cracks. After any cleaning or servicing that requires removal of any part of the gas system check for leaks. Gas sniffers are cheap, typically $100 or less.

Train all employees on how to shut off the gas to the entire facility.


Heat lamps cords are highly susceptible to damage because they are frequently moved.   Inspect the outside covering and replaced when the cord becomes worn or cracked and never repair damaged areas with electrical tape.


Fire plan

Every farm should have a written plan detailing how employees should respond to fires and where to go in case of an emergency. Have all emergency numbers posted where all employees can access them and include the farm’s 911 address. Implement and schedule quarterly fire drills.