CANADA - A research scientist with the Prairie Swine Centre says there appears to be a growing interest among pork producers in the use of electronic feeding systems, writes Bruce Cochrane.
As part of a National Sow Housing Conversion Project being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc a national team engineers and scientists is monitoring and documenting several conversions of sow barns from conventional stall housing to group housing.
Dr Jenifer Brown, a Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, reports we are starting to see some interesting trends.
Dr Jenifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre:
Certainly there's more renovations going on in the east, in Quebec and Ontario than we've seen in western Canada.
One reason for that might be that western barns are quite a bit larger, larger sow herds so that involves a lot more costly renovations so I think producers in the west are maybe holding back somewhat to judge what's the best options.
Across the board we are seeing a strong interest in the electronic sow feeding systems.
In Quebec they've developed a new feeding system that's kind of a free access ESF so it's kind of a hybrid of two previous systems so that system is also becoming quite popular.
Producers seems to like these automated systems because of the individual sow feeding that they offer.
Also they require a lesser flooring area than some of the other systems.
There are some producers who are using these more competitive feeding systems, floor feeding or trough feeding.
They're usually in the smaller barns because often it involves a less costly renovation.
We are seeing a lot of interesting changes and specific systems that are more suited to specific herd sizes and locations.
Dr Brown encourages producers to visit www.groupsowhousing.com for more information. She notes producers can also subscribe to a newsletter at that site.
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