Farmscape for June 15, 2018
Research conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc has found the change from stall housing of gestating sow to group housing has not negatively affected sow productivity or increased the amount of labour involved in handling the sows.
To help pork producers plan for converting from stall housing of gestating sows to group housing researchers working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc tracked and documented barn conversions across Canada.
Dr. Jennifer Brown, a research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, says producers who have made the change have been pleased.
Clip-Dr. Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre:
In terms of sow production levels people saw some transitional reductions.
In many cases they had to reduce the herd size in order to do the actual work but once they were up and running and had their numbers back up productivity has been really good.
We've gotten very good feedback.
Producers are liking working with the system, liking that the sows seem very relaxed and easy to work with in these systems and also finding it's interesting to work with sows in groups because you can see more of their individual differences and behaviors.
From an animal husbandry perspective it's been an interesting experience for them and a positive thing.
In terms of labor, we also looked at the amount of labor that went into the daily barn chores and we didn't see a big change.
In most cases they kept the same staff numbers but they did recognize that the duties of staff did change significantly so there was certainly training and transitional stage there.
Dr. Brown notes information collected through this project, including profiles of participating farms, can be accessed at groupsowhousing.com.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork