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Heat Stress & The Black-Globe Effect

Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest producer of hogs recently concluded a multi million-dollar study on heat stress and, its effects on Hog production. The study concluded that heat stress cost the hog industry approximately $900,000,000.00 a year.

A little-known natural phenomenon called the “black-globe effect” has a pronounced stress factor relating to the cost efficiency (or inefficiency) of weight gain in meat producing animals. Whether an animal is outdoors or indoors, in temperatures exceeding 78° F, it absorbs a tremendous increase in radiant energy from the sun. Although the animal may be confined to a building, the “black-globe effect” on the animal is the same as if it were 10 to 20° F higher than air temperature. Since Hogs are especially sensitive to heat stress it makes sense to incorporate an Agricultural rated Radiant Barrier to the insulation integration.

Farmers will find when they remove harmful heat radiation by installing Ag-Barrier barns animals will grow faster and more efficiently.

Introducing Ag-Barrier

Ag-Barrier is a Radiant Barrier product that looks much like Tri-ply. It is an 7mm thick woven film with aluminum radiant barrier on one side and a white Polypropylene on the other. Ag-Barrier has added UV & Corrosion protection, so it can handle the harsh environments found in agricultural barns. Ag-Barrier comes in solid and perforated versions. 

Keeping farm animals and livestock warm in the winter and cool in the summer is of vital importance. Ag Barrier™ Radiant Barrier products’ flexibility and ease of installation makes it the farmer’s problem solver.

Ag-Barrier Alone Reduces summer temperatures by 60 degrees in the Summer months and Reduces Propane expenses in the winter months while reducing condensation.

Heat energy moves three different ways in metal hog building by Conductivity, Convection and Radiation. Agricultural building like poultry barns, hog barns or, dairy barns uses insulation associated with a R-Value. R-values only measures Conductivity. The challenge with all metal pole barns is metal is highly conductive and radiates heat quite efficiently. 93% of the heat gain in metal buildings in the summer is Radiation from the sun. In winter months up to 75% of your heat loss is Radiation. The fact is in metal buildings traditional R-Value rated insulation alone just isn’t effective handling the “Radiant Heat” challenge. Ag-Barrier reflects 95% of radiation back to its source, keeping the suns radiation out of your building in the summer and, keeping the heat inside your building in the winter.

Ag Barrier in New Construction

In new construction, perforated Ag Barrier is an excellent option as a poly replacement under the metal roof and, above the drop ceiling.  It is considered an upgrade over existing Tri-Ply material used as a drop ceiling material or house wrap because it blocks 95% of radiant heat from entering your confinement area. In confinement houses where Bubble Foil insulation is already being used Ag-Barrier is an upgrade and a less expensive option, saving farmers as much as 50% of cost of insulation. According to the Department of Energy, the energy cost saving can be as much as 50%.

Ag Barrier and Retrofits

Ag Barrier in existing buildings can be beneficial as well. By adding perforated Ag Barrier under your roof or, above your ceiling material, you get all the benefits of a radiant barrier while increasing the lifespan of your metal roof/your drop ceiling and, the current insulation installed already. Many farms use fiberglass insulation in their roofs and the walls. Over a period of 5 years or so, the fiberglass loses much of its efficiency. Instead of having to constantly put more insulation in, installing Ag Barrier as part of a reflective insulation system drastically improves the efficiency of the insulation already there as much as 50%. Most insulation specifically deals with conductive and convective heat. This is only a fraction of the overall heat load buildings deal with. By addressing the main contributor to the heat load, the previous insulation doesn’t have nearly as much heat to combat to make the confinement area more habitable.

Applying Ag-Barrier In Hog Barns

Millions of Square Feet of Ag Barrier have been installed into Hog Barns. Installing perforated Ag Barrier under the metal roof has prevented condensation under the metal. Hog Barn owners are reporting up to 60 degree temperature reductions in the summer and saved prophane during the winter months. Applying Ag Barrier over the metal drop ceiling has been helpful in reducing condensation and improving the thermal performance of the Hog House. Most Hog House owners have seen their traditional insulation fail. The fiberglass begins to compress, the foam starts to flake, and the beetles start to ravage the rest of the existing insulation. These are natural occurrences. They happen due to moisture accumulation, condensation, dusting, and just insect breeding. Ag-Barrier will give you one more line of defense as your other forms of insulation starts to fail. Ag-Barrier doesn’t face the same issues as traditional insulation. Beetles can’t penetrate it, humidity doesn’t accumulate around it, and condensation rarely becomes an issue with it.

Another issue the agriculture market faces is power outages. This is just something that can’t be foreseen but causes severe complications. Having a proper Radiant Barrier surrounding your confinement area will buy you more time during power failures because the heat load traditionally being stored in your building can’t pass through even when your fans stop blowing.

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