Decision-Making Tools for Group Housing Conversions

CANADA - New tools being developed by the University of Manitoba will help pork producers choose the best options for converting their sow barns to group housing, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 19 January 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

The University of Manitoba in partnership with Manitoba Pork Council has kicked off a project to develop tools to help pork producers identify the best options for converting existing sow barns from conventional stall housing to group housing.

Dr Laurie Connor, the head of the University of Manitoba's Department of Animal Science, says the goal is to identify group housing options that can be adapted for use in existing barns.

Dr Laurie Connor – University of Manitoba:

What we're aiming for is at the end of this to actually have a document and a workbook that will help producers be able to determine what design might work best for them,

There will be four designs that will be the most likely to be able to be adopted by producers in Manitoba.

The concepts that will be presented in this document will be certainly usable by producers well beyond Manitoba and also by producers that have very large operations, have small operations.

We really are trying to be able to provide the industry and their support groups, their advisors, with a compilation of information that will truly be useful for them in determining what type of conversion will be best for them.

Dr Connor says phase one – which involves a comprehensive review of the scientific literature on the topic, consultations with producer advisors and an economic analysis – is just underway, and phase two (the engineering phase) will hopefully begin this summer and the plan is to have the project complete by the end of 2012.

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