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Sow Productivity Under Group Housing Rivals that of Stalls

by 5m Editor
29 December 2003, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1413. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1413

A scientist at the Prairie Swine Centre suggests producers looking to offer more freedom of movement to gestating sows might find group housing to be a more economically viable option. The Prairie Swine Centre maintains two research programs, one looking at stalls and the other at group housing using electronic sow feeding.

Research has shown a 22 inch wide stall will accommodate a gilt entering her first gestation but larger sows in their third, fourth and fifth pregnancy will require as much as 28 inches to maintain the same freedom of movement.

Dr. Harold Gonyou says, as you go to wider and wider stalls, it might be as cost effective to go to a group housing system.

"We are doing a major study on group housing in electronic sow feeding systems. We selected one group housing system and we're focusing all of our research on that. There are other groups within Canada and the United States that are looking at other group housing systems right now.

We chose one that we felt allowed us to have the best nutritional management of the sows. Electronic sow feeding provides us an opportunity to use the nutritional knowledge that we've developed through research over the last 20 years. It's the system that best allows us to do that.

In the other group housing systems, to accomplish the same thing, you would have to sort the animals into very small groups or you would have to do what we call hand feeding, going through and feeding individual animals, to achieve the same level of nutrient control."

Dr. Gonyou says, within the group housing project scientists are evaluating four different management systems, one of which out performs the stall system, one that performs as well and two that do not work as well. He says that suggests management style will also impact an animals productivity within the system.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor