New Formula Identifies Minimum Space Requirements for Pigs

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1393. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
27 November 2003
 Farm-Scape is sponsored by Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork Play Audio Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Counciland Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1393

Research conducted at the Prairie Swine Centre has determined pigs require a minimum of about eight square feet per animal to maintain maximum productivity as they reach market weight.

Scientists have developed a formula to homogenize data from studies conducted under diverse conditions, using different criteria, at various weight ranges so it can be used to determine the point at which overcrowding will become a factor.

The formula, which is based on the pig's body weight, is used to determine the amount of floor space required per pig to maintain maximum growth.

Dr. Harold Gonyou says it can be applied to a wide range of weights but the most critical point is when the pigs begin to approach market weight.

"I suppose we had about 30 studies that had very similar methodology even though these studies were done in the US in Canada and Great Britain.

In combining those data we came up with a value, the point at which crowding occurs with these pigs.

What we get is what's called a 'Critical K Value' and the surprising thing was the critical K value was similar regardless of what floor type we were looking at and also whether we were looking at nursery pigs or grower finisher pigs.

In much of Western Canada we are marketing pigs at 110 or 115 kilograms and that means the average weight within your pen is about 95 to 100 kilograms on that day that you first market your pig.

Using a K value of .034 we come up with a value of .73 metres squared or about eight square feet. If your pigs are provided with less space than that then you will have crowded your pigs to the point that the last week or so they will not be growing at their maximum weight".

Dr. Gonyou says scientists plan to replicate some of the studies to correct flaws in the research and to clarify data.

He says they also want to apply the research to larger groups of pigs.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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