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Though paper evaporative cooling pads have been used by poultry producers for decades, plastic pads are a relative new phenomenon. As with any new product, there are a lot of questions.
By far the most common question is whether plastic pads can produce the same level of air cooling as traditional paper pads. In short, the answer is yes.
But just because plastic pads are capable of producing the same level of cooling as paper pads, this doesn’t necessarily mean they will.
A study comparing plastic pads to traditional paper pads was begun in the Spring of 2020 on a six-house broiler farm in North Georgia.
Three of the 54’ X 500’ (16,5 x 150 meter) houses were equipped with plastic pads from two different manufacturers.
One house was equipped with plastic pads provided by Big Dutchman* and two houses were equipped with plastic pads provided by Barku*.
In one of the houses equipped with the Barku pads, the six-year-old water distribution systems were replaced with new systems manufactured by Barku.
During the last ten days of the warmest summertime flock of 2021 (tunnel fans were operating 24 hours a day), the evaporative cooling pads were set to turn on at 80ºF (26.7 ºC) and off at 79ºF (26.1 ºC).
No interval timers were used. Incoming air temperatures and RH, measured 18” from the evaporative cooling pads, were recorded every five minutes as were outside temperature and RH.
Outside temperatures during the ten-day period ranged from around 90ºF (32.2 ºC) during the day to 70ºF (21.1 ºC) at night. Incoming air temperatures during the warmest times of the day (10 AM – 6 PM) were found to be very similar in all the houses (Table 1).
Table 1. Average air temperature and RH between the hours of 10 AM and 6 PM during the last ten days of the flock
Since there was a minimal difference in incoming air temperatures, it was not unexpected to find that the incoming RH for all the houses were similar as well.
The week after the birds were sold, daytime highs were