Nestled neatly between corn fields on about two acres near Lawler in rural Chickasaw County is a new hog building. It’s not a typical looking pig barn and what’s inside tells you it’s not. The facility is equipped with all of the newest technology available in pig farming and is uniquely designed to be animal-friendly, environmentally friendly, and downright neighborly.
The Reicks family hosted an open house to show off the facility’s many environmental amenities on Sept. 15 and around 120 people took the opportunity to check it out, including the Chickasaw County Board of Supervisors.
The finishing barn is incorporating new odor reduction technology with state-of-the-art air scrubber and air filtration, the latest feed delivery system, climate control features and more. To facilitate good ventilation, all air will come through a cool cell system, using evaporation to give the pigs the ideal growing environment.
Jerico Construction, a division of Reicks View Farms, designed the building and worked closely with Iowa State University researchers on testing protocol.
“We worked with ISU to achieve an approved national average score of 52 percent odor reduction,” said designer Justin Haught. “Tests revealed that odor was reduced by at least 80 percent up to 1,000 feet from the barn.”
The 2,400-head hog building is completely filtered and has top-down ventilation.
“The cool cell will lower the temperature in the barn to reduce electric consumption,” said Dale Reicks. “We’re also scrubbing the air leaving the barn, which is basically a cool cell pad that catches the dust exiting through the fans. We’ll achieve an average 50 percent reduction in ammonia and odor emissions.”
Reicks View Farms modeled the barn after those seen by Dale Reicks in Belgium in 2000 and Germany in 2012.
“So, we’ve developed this on our own,” Reicks said.
A wind barrier has been built outside the barn to prevent direct head winds from reducing the barn’s efficiency and as an additional odor reduction tool. The facility is part of an odor reduction pilot project.
“It’s a situation where we want to be friendly and we’ve worked with Iowa State to try to make sure we capture and understand what we’re doing,” Reicks said. ‘There’s some maintenance to it, but we know it will work. It’s going to be good.”
Reicks View Farms has had other non-air scrubbing barns in its system for a year that are providing better rates of gain because of more consistent temperatures in the barn, according to Reicks.
The new concentrated animal feeding operation will serve as a nursery for the Reicks View Farms farrow-to-finish swine production system, which markets 600,000 head of hogs a year. The Reicks family also raises 10,000 acres of corn.