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Move to Group Sow Housing Fuels Interest in Precision Sow Feeding

13 July 2016
Manitoba Pork Council


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CANADA - The Innovative Projects and Swine Products Manager with Canarm Ag Systems says, as the transition to group housing of sows accelerates in North America, so is the level of interest in precision feeding of sows, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Canada's revised Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs mandates the conversion of sow housing to some form of group housing or loose housing by 2024.

Canarm Ag Systems Innovative Projects and Swine Products Manager Curtis Littlejohn says, if we can adapt feed to match the sow's needs through gestation and lactation, we can improve her productivity, her health and longevity and at the same time benefit the environment by reducing the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that the sow produces that gets used as fertiliser on the ground.

Curtis Littlejohn-Canarm Ag Systems:

We're actually working on a precision feeder that's in testing at the University of Guelph that will blend portions as small as five grams through four different components to fulfil a nutrient complex that will meet the sow's gestational requirements at what ever point in gestation they are.

Research has proven to us that, depending on where a sow is in gestation, she has different requirements for protein, different requirements for fat, different requirements for fibre and, if we can match those up, we can lower overall costs, we can improve the productivity of the sow and we can produce beneficial outcomes for the environment.

The commercially available product is designed and built as we speak.

We have to go through some pretty rigorous research testing to ensure that what we're going to accomplish here meets the needs of producers today and has the flexibility to allow us to adapt and change going into the future.

We see about a two to three year time horizon before we'll have our first commercial units ready for sale in the field.

Mr Littlejohn said interest in converting to group housing is rising and producers are exploring options for renovating their barns.

ThePigSite News Desk

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