Researchers with the University of Manitoba hope to have new tools available in 2013 to assist pork producers planning the switch to group housing of sows choose the system that will best work for them.
The University of Manitoba in partnership with Manitoba Pork and the Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council is working to develop new tools to help pork producers planning to change from housing gestating sows in stalls to group housing select the system that will work best for their management systems.
Dr. Laurie Connor, the Head of the University of Manitoba’s Department of Animal Science, told those attending Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2012 this week in Saskatoon, producers have a multitude of configurations to choose from.
In terms of the feeding system there’s a least four different types of feeding systems that we can have, several of them individual like an electronic sow feeding system, free access stalls, trickle feeding which is still a type of individual feeding and then floor feeding.
With each one of those components, for example an ESF system you can either have a slatted floor system, partially slatted or solid with straw.
With any one of those then, a feeding system and any one of the three flooring systems you can have a dynamic or static group.
Then, if you’re looking at the time of introducing the sows into the group, it can be at the time that they’re weaned, it can be just after they’re bred or it can be after you expect implantation has occurred, that’s about 28 days.
If you put all of that together you recognize that even just with those considerations there are at least 72 potential combinations.
Dr. Connor says the goal is to provide a tool that will help pork producers in decision making and in understanding how these systems operate and what it takes to make them operate successfully.