NCFI Steps up Efforts to Help Poultry Producers

May 19th, 2008

With predictions pointing to a hotter-than-average summer, NCFI, a leading manufacturer of polyurethane spray foam insulation, is stepping up efforts to educate poultry producers that poultry houses without proper insulation can lead to higher energy costs, greater bird mortality rates, and lower overall bird quality.

"We’re extremely concerned about the Agri-business sector and the good people who make up this vital industry," says Don Schumacher, Director of Sales. "Poultry producers were hit hard back in early 2007 by the public fear of high-pathogenic avian influenza, and are currently experiencing higher operating costs with steeply rising energy and feed costs (up 50 percent in the past six months). The last thing they need is a hotter-than-average summer with lower production and lower revenue. But there are steps they can take—like applying spray foam insulation and non-reflective roof coating—to increase their yields and save money. These are two simple tools that can help them through an extreme weather summer and fall and we’re getting out there to make sure they know about these tools.

According to Schumacher, "Heat kills, when it comes to poultry—especially chickens and turkeys. Exposure to hotter ambient temperatures can cause heat stress which puts birds at great risk. A chicken’s body temperature is already around 106.5 degrees, and that goes up considerably when they feed. Ambient heat can raise the bird’s temperatures to an unsafe level—they don’t sweat, so they are extremely vulnerable. If their overall temperature gets too high birds eat less—at some point they stop eating—which leads to lower body weight and hens stop laying eggs. If it gets beyond that, birds begin to die. Both of these outcomes are bad for producers."

Schumacher says while most producers pay attention to cooling elements like fans, humidity control and water supply, the building itself plays a major role in poultry health. "Solar heat gain comes through direct sun on the roof—usually metal and as hot as 150 degrees on sunny days—and walls, and causes dramatic increases in the ambient temperature of the entire building. "Research conducted in the Southeastern U.S. and cited in Auburn University’s, Need for Insulation in Warm Climate Poultry Housing, shows that a non-insulated, galvanized roof may radiate heat in a poultry house anywhere from an extra 30-36 BTU’s per hour, per square foot. A reflective roof coating, like our Enduratech®, can be used for the repair of older corrugated metal roofs to lower radiant heat.

Another study by Auburn University and the U.S. Egg & Poultry Assoc. Newsletter compares insulated and non-insulated poultry houses with an outside temperature of 92 degrees. Over time, the insulated houses’ inside temperature remained at 92 degrees while radiant heat transfer caused the non-insulated house to rise to 99 degrees. This resulted in a 0.5 percent mortality rate in the insulated house and a disastrous 14.3 percent mortality rate in the non-insulated one. "That kind of bird loss is not what the farmer needs—they need a controlled and consistent environment in which birds are physically and psychologically comfortable. "Our AgriThane® spray foam insulation on side walls, ridge cap and end walls and Enduratech® on metal roofs provide a one-two punch to reducing heat stress by inhibiting radiant heat transfer, keeping inside temperatures lower and more constant. In challenging economic times, we’re offering poultry producers two great tools to help them grow healthier birds, reduce mortality rates, and save money through decreased energy use. It’s a great competitive advantage for the entire U.S. poultry industry," concludes Schumacher.