Sow Stall Conversion Projects

Apr 30, 2014

By Bruce Cochrane

The president and CEO of the Prairie Swine Centre says the biggest change to Canada's Pig Code of Practice revolves around housing for gestating sows.

Under Canada's new Pig Code of Practice, as of 2014, all newly built or renovated sow barns must house mated sows and gilts in groups.

Prairie Swine Centre president and CEO Lee Whittington says, from a productivity point of view, we know group sow housing can be as effective as housing sows in stalls and thankfully there are solutions available to help producers with renovations.

Lee Whittington-Prairie Swine Centre:
Probably the largest effort that we've been involved with over the last three years has been with the University of Manitoba to look at how can we redesign current sow gestation stall buildings, removing those stalls and looking at either electronic sow feeders, short shoulder stalls, floor feeding or walk in lock in or also know as free access stalls so we've had a large project going looking at pilot projects of taking real barns and reorganizing their floor plan.
We've just completed two of those to the point of we're having new blueprints drafted and have engaged various electronic sow feeder manufacturers to make sure that those floor plans meet their requirements.

So there's a lot of activity looking at trying to bring together, what does science tell us about group housing and how can we use that to renovate current housing that we've got, stall houses that we've got. Our roll as a research organization really has to get our hands dirty to make sure all of the individual pieces that have been researched over the last couple of decades, make sure that when they're all brought together that we've removed as much risk as possible from the producer.

Whittington says the first conversions will start construction this fall and he expects the first data on the effectiveness of these renovations within two years.

Source: Farmscape

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