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What to Consider When Renovating Sow Barns

30 November 2015, at 12:00am

CANADA - A consultant with FGC Construction advisees pork producers who are deciding whether to convert their sow barns from stall housing to group housing to consider several factors, writes Bruce Cochrane.

In response to Canada's revised Pig Code of Practice, which calls for any new or expanded sow operation to employ group housing, a multidisciplinary team of swine researchers and engineers, in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc, is documenting sow barn conversions from stall housing to group housing.

Murray Elliott, with FGC Construction, told those on hand last week in Saskatoon for Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2015, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not renovate.

Murray Elliott-FGC Construction:

Cost is always the first factor. It's the big one.

If you can't come within 75 percent of a new build or if it's gong to cost you more than 75 percent of a new build you should probably really consider a new build.

Permitting certainly plays into it. Lost production has to be factored in.

New builds generally don't disrupt existing structures so they can carry on until the new barn is built and then they can move in.

You can also do that with a partial renovation, partial build so you build a new farrowing barn, move into that and renovate the old farrowing barn into something else.

It does have production implications. Permitting can be an issue.

If you can't get a new permit you can often work within the existing footprint and do what you want to do.

Finally you have to look at taxes. There are some distinct tax advantages to a renovation if you need that but that's really up to your accountants.

Elliot says, if you can keep costs within 50 to 60 percent of the costs of a new build, you will have captured some of the value of the existing facility but, once those costs begin to approach 75 percent, you might as well start from scratch.

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