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Watching Water Use Could Save Costs on Pig Farms

07 May 2015
Manitoba Pork Council

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CANADA - By keeping closer tabs on water, pork producers can cut costs by reducing water waste and by reducing the volumes of manure that must be handled, writes Bruce Cochrane.

"Managing Utility Costs: How can we better manage the barn environment," was among the topics discussed as part of the Prairie Swine Centre's 2015 Manitoba Spring Producer Meetings.

Ken Engele, the manager of technology transfer with the Saskatoon-based Prairie Swine Centre, said by keeping a close watch on water use producers can improve their bottom lines.

Ken Engele-Prairie Swine Centre:

Water specifically would fall under the utility cost component.

Our engineering group has done quite a bit of work in surveying where the costs come from, from the utility perspective, and what cost savings are potentially achievable.

The project specifically looked at water conservation measures, in particular looking at power washing alternatives or nozzle options is one and then looking at different drinker types and pre-soaking or non-soaking rooms.

What that research found was using a water bowl with side panel versus a nipple drinker could save producers up to $4.50 per pig marketed.

Most of that $4.50 comes in reducing water wastage.

The water bowl with side panel will reduce water wastage up to 40 percent and subsequently you're producing less water waste and subsequently that doesn't need to be pumped out through manure disposal so that's where the direct cost comes from.

Mr Engele suggested that if you have a standard operating procedure, make sure you're doing what you think you're doing.

He says pigs can be hard on equipment so, when first putting in pigs in a new room turn people should test the water to make sure it's clean and everything is properly adjusted.

They should also check nipple heights every couple of weeks and randomly monitor flow rates to make sure they're in that 500 to 1,000 millilitres per minute range.

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