CANADA - Swine farms considering converting from stall housing to group housing of gestating sows are being invited to participate in a Nationwide Sow Housing Conversion Project, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Under changes to Canada's Pig Code of Practice, all new barns built to house gestating sows must utilise group housing and all producers are encouraged to move to group housing by 2024.
In response the Prairie Swine Centre, the University of Manitoba and an Ontario based engineering firm, in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc, plan to work with individual producers to document their conversions.
Dr Jennifer Brown, a research scientist in ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, says the selection process is under way now and the intent is to track 4 primary conversions and 10 secondary conversions across the country.
Dr Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre:
We're hoping ultimately to provide good examples in terms of the conversion and what the barn started out as, and then also taking that through to completion, what system they chose for feeding sows in groups, how that was implemented, the costs that they incurred during the conversion process and then following up at the end with the documentation of their productivity levels with the new group housing system, and documenting any management strategies that they had to put in to place to deal with that change in terms of staffing and different management techniques, and things that they observed during that process in terms of, say, training sows for electronic sow feeding systems.
So we're hoping to have, representing across the country, these multiple farm sites and different herd sizes as well, because we'd like to show a variety of examples of different barns sizes and then also the different feeding systems that are available for group housing.
Dr Brown said information gathered through this project will be made available for farmers who are considering converting to group housing and will be posted to a new web site planned for launch in August.
ThePigSite News Desk