CANADA - A new web site planned for launch next month will provide information for swine producers considering converting their sow barns to group housing, writes Bruce Cochrane.
In response to changes in requirements for housing gestating sows under Canada's new Pig Code of Practice, the Prairie Swine Centre, the University of Manitoba and an Ontario based engineering firm, in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc, are working with selected producers to document their conversions to group housing.
Dr Jennifer Brown, a research scientist ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, says the intent is to track 4 primary conversions and 10 secondary conversions across the country.
Dr Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre:
We do have one of those primary conversion sites that we've identified in Ontario but we are still in the process of identifying other barn conversion sites.
In terms of secondary sites, barns that have already converted, we do have 4 sites that we're already documenting, 2 that have converted in Ontario, 1 in Alberta and 1 new barn site in Saskatchewan that we were using as examples.
So we are still in the process of looking for more farms that could participate in the project.
Producers that are actually in the process of making their decisions around group sow housing, we would work with them on selecting their preferred feeding system and then helping them in designing a conversion that's going to optimize their barn space.
Dr Brown says the goal is to provide good examples of how the barns started out, and take those conversions right through to completion.
She notes information gathered through the project will be made available to producers who are considering converting to group housing through producer meetings across the country and will be posted to a new web site, groupsowhousing.com, planned for launch in August.
ThePigSite News Desk