With Australian Government funding, the Australian Livestock Export Corporation Ltd (LiveCorp) has undertaken a research project to explore technologies that could reduce the risk of heat stress in sheep by reducing the hot and humid conditions found on livestock vessels.
Vessel Heat Stress Technology Trial Program
Phase 1 - Pre-trial planning
In 2018, LiveCorp (supported by Beanstalk AgTech Pty Ltd) began a research project to explore technologies that could reduce wet bulb temperatures preventing them from reaching or exceeding the heat stress threshold of livestock. In addition any technology identified needed to maximise opportunities for animals to acclimatise to destination country weather conditions.
Phase 2 - Static trials
In 2019, the Australian Government provided $2.2 million to fund phase 2 of the Vessel Heat Stress Technology Trial Program.
The Static Dehumidification Trial assessed the effect of static dehumidification on mitigating heat and humidity under field conditions on an empty livestock vessel, portside in the Middle East.
Commercial dehumidifiers were installed on the wharf and were using in conjunction with the existing ventilation system to achieve varying levels of heat and humidity.
The project team was comprised of experts in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, scientific research trial methodology, animal physiology/veterinary science, epidemiology and engineering.
Release of the dehumidification report
To learn more about this trial, please see LiveCorp’s summary of findings. More detailed information about the static dehumidification trial is available on LiveCorp’s Vessel heat stress technology trial page.
The static trial has shown that dehumidification can be effective in reducing heat and humidity on-board a livestock vessel. However, modelling presented in the report shows that more research and the advancement of technology is required to make the approach practically and economically viable on ships loaded with livestock.