New infrastructure creates opportunity for long-term production research

by 5m Editor
13 September 2007, at 11:38am

CANADA - A scientist with the University of Manitoba says a new infrastructure at the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment will allow long-term research into the productivity, animal welfare and environmental aspects of swine production, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Last week the federal government announced funding for the purchase of new electronic sows feeding and environmental monitoring equipment as well as specialised penning for the research unit at the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment at Glenlea.

Dr. Jim House, an associate professor with the University of Manitoba's Animal Science Department, says the equipment will allow researchers to compare large group housing to conventional housing.

Dr. Jim House-University of Manitoba

The national centre, we call it NCLE for short, basically will allow us to compare two different production systems over the long term, so looking at more of a traditional slurry based or liquid manure based production system and a system that is more dependent on the use of solid bedding or straw based systems.

And how we handle the manure, what are the opportunities and challenges that come forward with respect to the two different systems in, for example, looking at measures of productivity, looking at indices of health and welfare in the pigs and looking ultimately at the economics of the system and more importantly, as part of an integrated system over the long term, what implications the two different production systems may have on the linkages with the environment and looking for example at such things as how do nutrients move through the different feeding systems and bedding systems that are used. what implications does the use of straw for example have on nitrogen or phosphorus movement in the soil.

We'll be able to monitor a lot of that over the long term in the NCLE system.

Dr. House says much of the research is already underway but the new equipment will expand the centre's capabilities and capacities and allow for ongoing research over the long term.

5m Editor