Positive pressure tubes can be a great addition to any indoor calf barn, but there are many things you need to know before you add them to your facility. They are not and install and never touch again product. PPTs need to be properly designed, installed, and managed to be used to their full potential.
- PPT are not something that can be calculated and installed without ever stepping foot in the barn. We have seen many systems that have been installed where they were typed into a calculation program and spit back some figures, where tubes were then purchased and shipped to the farm. While calculations are important and necessary, they are only ONE part of the information needed to properly fit tubes in a barn.
- They should NOT be drafting calves. There should never be holes pointed directly onto the calf or calves. There is only one way that ends, and it’s having sick calves that never recover. Calves are drafted VERY easily, and if they can’t move away from the air stream, they will get sick. Tube holes should be angled so that the fresh air is getting into the pen and down by the calves, but not blowing directly on them.
- PPT should be delivering even, slow, fresh air to the calves in the pen. If the holes are angled too high, the air will not get down into the pen and to the calves. If the holes are angled too low, it will draft the calves.
- Fans and PPTs need to be properly sized to match each other. There are many times we see fans that are pushing too few CFMs to properly inflate the tube, or too many CFMs and it is causing air to bounce back too hard from the far end of the tube and disrupting air flow. Both will cause the tubes to work improperly.
- PPT are NOT maintenance free! Many times, tubes are installed, and never touched again. Tubes should be clean at least 2x per year. Tubes with dust and debris can harbor disease, causing issues in your calves.
- PPT need to be installed properly to work. If the tube is not properly supported, or hung up, it will cause bends in the tube, which will disrupt airflow. Air flow can be decreased by up to 75% because of improperly installed tubes.
- Your PPT are NOT effective if they are 12’+ above your calves. The odds that you are delivering proper air decreases the further you put the tubes up. They shouldn’t be up in the rafters!
- Lastly, PPT fans need to be cleaned. A fan with dust/dirt can lose up to 40% of air flow. Clean fans regularly to maintain proper airflow.
As you can see by the list above, there are a multitude of things that need to be done to keep your tubes running at full capacity. There is nothing easy, or maintenance free about the system, but if properly sized, installed, and managed, they can be an amazing addition to any calf barn.
If you are looking to improve the ventilation in your calf barn, consider the addition of positive pressure tubes.
Not sure where to start? Contact us today and we can help you get started on the path to a transformed calf program!