Danish Pig Research Centre: Annual Report 2010: 'Solid Floor, No Mess' Project

by 5m Editor
27 October 2011, at 12:00am

The 2010 annual report from the Danish Pig Research Centre describes an investigation into techniques to reduce manure on solid-floored finisher pens.

The project, 'Solid floor, no mess', investigated a series of technologies for reducing mess on solid floor in finisher pens. On 10 farms, the following elements were investigated:

  • alternative air intake
  • stocking density
  • high-pressure cooling
  • floor cooling
  • pit ventilation, and
  • demonstration of reduction of mess through enhanced climate controllers

Unacceptable Level of Mess

Because of large variations and pronounced problems with mess on some finisher farms, a cross-disciplinary analysis was made to determine the level acceptable pursuant to the requirements in the Animal Protection Act: 'Pigs must have access to a physically and temperature-wise comfortable lying area that is sufficiently drained and clean, and where all animals can lie down at the same time'. In practice, this means that pigs' lying area must be clean, and that fouling, if any, must be cleaned at least once a day.

However, in some quarters of the year, on half of the farms 10 to 50 per cent of pens were observed with mess in the entire lying area, and this is unacceptable in terms of working environment and animal welfare.

It is therefore concluded that solid floor in the lying area is not a reliable solution for all pig producers. In pens with solid floors, the producer must be prepared to make an extra, manual cleaning effort in periods.

Alternative Air Intake

Increased air flow in finishers' lying area in warm periods is one successful method for reduction of mess.

Several methods have been studied: ceiling fans, air led directly into the pen via pipes under the cover, and ceiling inlets where the air is led towards inspection alley and lying area, respectively.

Ceiling fans were inefficient, which may be due to the fact that they just mix the air in the pig house. With the other three techniques, the alternative air intake comes from directly outside, and did reduce the extent of mess from around 60 kg already. The percentage of pens with pigs requiring treatments dropped by 39-45% regardless of whether the starting point was high or low.

Demonstration of Climate Controllers

Demonstration of enhanced climate controllers was the only one of the other techniques that reduced mess in the pens.

The best recommendation for reducing mess is:

  • Efficient drying of the pig house before transfer of pigs
  • Climate management adjusted to the pigs’ behaviour in this order:
    • adjust temperature in facility
    • increase sprinkling frequency, and
    • increase air flow in the lying area by using alternative air intake
Per cent pens with mess in the entire lying area listed as an average of all groups in each of the 10 herds
Herd 1st quarter 2nd quarter 3rd quarter 4th quarter
1 26 16 8
2 22 23 24
3 1 0 8 4
5 1 0
6 1 1 1 1
7 4 2 14 4
8 5 7 55 36
9 3 4 0
10 4 20 7
Data for Herd 4 is not yet available, but is estimated to be level with herd 3.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous article on this report by clicking here.

October 2011
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