Exploring Alternatives for Housing Gestating Sows

by 5m Editor
27 April 2012, at 7:21am

CANADA - The chair of Manitoba Pork Council's research committee says before any alternative system for housing gestating sows can be endorsed for widespread adoption, it needs to be thoroughly assessed, according to Bruce Cochrane.

The Manitoba pork industry's vision for long-term sustainability, "Embracing a Sustainable Future", released last month, outlines 82 commitments being made by the province's pork producers on a range of issues, including investing in research.

One of the research priorities being explored in partnership with the University of Manitoba is a project on alternative sow housing.

Manitoba Pork Council research committee chair Rick Bergmann says to mirror what's happening within the industry right now, the multi-year pilot project will be conducted on a large-scale farm to provide real life data.

Rick Bergmann-Manitoba Pork Council

There's a lot of pressure to look at different modes of housing sows and certainly Manitoba Pork Council and the producers here in Manitoba are progressive enough to want to look at that as well and to ensure that before any changes are made on a large scale that there are experiments and the research done on current practices and new practices.

There are lots of styles of sow housing not only in Manitoba but around the world and certainly we want to be aware of the best practices out there.

Council's perspective is, before producers make all kinds of changes, it's imperative that we do some research and development on potential new ways of housing sows to ensure that if there is a model that is better that it's explored and the kinks are taken out at a research and development level.

Mr Bergmann says there's increasing pressure from customers around the world for changes in sow housing and Manitoba's pork producers are open to exploring that.

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