Research has shown changing the configuration of slatted concrete flooring can help improve the foot health of gestating sows.
As part of research conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc scientists looked at the effect of the slat and gap configuration in concrete floors on the effectiveness of manure handling and the welfare of group housed gestating sows.
“Narrower Slats and Gaps of Slatted Concrete Floors for Gestation Sows” was among the discussions last week as part of Prairie Livestock Expo in Winnipeg.
Xiajie Yan, a PhD student in Department of Biosystems Engineering with University of Manitoba, says two configurations, a 125 millimeter slat and a 25 millimeter gap as a control and a 105 millimeter slat and 19 millimeter gap as a test, were compared.
During all of the test of ammonia concentrations, floor conditions and the cleanliness of the animals we get a result that indicates that the two floor configurations have almost the same performance in terms of manure drainage and air quality. We can not find any significant difference between these two floor configurations.
The narrow slats and gaps have no effect on the manure drainage and the air quality part. But, from the previous study, we know the narrower slat and gap configuration actually have better performance in terms of sow gait and we do notice there were fewer foot lesions when sows live in a room with narrow floors.
~ Xiajie Yan, University of Manitoba
Yan says the hope is that this study can provide some useful information for the producers and the floor manufacturing companies to help them select or design what kind of floor configuration they need to use for the group housed sows in the future.