New Software Assists in Designing Barn Conversions to Group Housing

CANADA - New software developed by the University of Manitoba will help pork producers planning to move from stall housing of gestating sows to group housing design the system that will best fit their needs, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 2 May 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

The University of Manitoba, in partnership with Manitoba Pork Council and the Prairie Improvement Network formerly the Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council, has developed a computer programme to help pork producers planning to switch to group housing of gestating sows select the system that will best fit their management systems.

Dr Laurie Connor, the Head of the University of Manitoba's Department of Animal Science says, by inputting information on the existing barn, the software will identify different types of group housing systems that will fit.

Dr Laurie Connor-University of Manitoba:

You identify the herd size, things like weaning age, various parameters basically that will identify how long the sows would be in the stalls before they would go into the farrowing and what sort of group sizes there might be.

There's all of that input information about how the herd is currently managed.

Then the user can identify what type of feeding system they would like to explore if you will and, say for example, it's ESF and then you just ask it then to proceed to the layout.

Using the information that you have input then it will go through various sort of iterations and take the dimensions and what you've told it basically in terms of the type of flooring that you have and it will see how, for example, the ESF would fit into your particular barn dimensions and give you a screen with the layout of your barn with a layout for an ESF system.

Dr Connor says researchers are now determining how best to make the software readily available while maintaining the ability to refine and update the programme.

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