Prairie Swine Centre

 Industry Partners


Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan


Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:



Reducing Temperature Requirements for Group Housed Sows to Save Cost

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Production by student on June 19, 2018 | No Comments

Author: Alvin Alvardo, M.Sc. and Bernardo Predicala, Ph.D.

Publication: Centred on Swine, Winter 2016 Volume 22 Number 2

Summary:

The revised Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs has the expectation that by 2024 producers will convert their gestation housing from stalls to group housing. In order to aid in making this a successful transformation industry is determining what benefits producers can gain from this transformation.

 

Sows that are housed in group housing systems have been determined to prefer a temperature between 9 to 12°. This is significantly lower than the current standard gestation room temperature of 16.5°C. Generally, dropping below 15°C (the lower critical temperature) would require the provision of more food in order to maintain sow body condition.

 

Increasing the sow’s fibre intake aids in the production of heat from digestion, but it is also a mechanism to increase the feeling of satiety in the sow which decreases aggression.

 

This experiment was completed in two phases. Phase one utilized experimental chambers and resulted in sows activating the operant mechanism at 12.5°C. The second phase of the experiment was completed in rooms for group housing that accommodated 28 sows. Sows in this phase of the experiment maintained temperature 5°C lower than the normal set temperature. This resulted in a 78% reduction in energy utilization, which could translate into a savings of $5/pig during the heating season.

Reducing Temperature Requirements for Group Housed Sows to Save Cost

 

Assessing Enrichment for Sows

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Author: Victoria Kyeiwaa and Jennifer Brown, Ph.D

Publication: Centred on Swine, Winter 2016 Volume 22 Number 2

Summary:

Interest regarding enrichment for sows has steamed for revisions to the Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs which includes, “multiple forms of enrichment that aim to improve the welfare of the animals”.

 

Studies have shown that when growing pigs are given appropriate enrichment they can benefit from reduced aggression, fewer behavioral vices, reduced fear and improved growth. It is anticipated that similar results can be expected with sows. This study will examine varying methods for effective environmental enrichment for group housed sows that will be economically viable in the swine industry.

 

Straw has been determined to be an effective form of enrichment for sows, however there is reluctance to use straw as it could pose a risk to biosecurity. This experiment will examine rope, small amounts of straw, and wood on chains to compare to a control treatment that is provided with no enrichment.

 

This study also considered the influence that social status will have on enrichment use in swine. This was done by focusing on six focal pigs, three that were dominant and three subordinate.

 

In addition, this study will also focus on if regular rotation will aid in keeping the animal interacting with the enrichment tool for longer as a common problem with enrichments is that animals lose interest over time.

 

Assessing Enrichments for Sows

Assessing Particle Size and the Cost of Grinding

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Author: Danilo Sotto, Tom Scott, and Denise Beaulieu

Publication: Centred on Swine, Winter 2016 Volume 22 Number 2

Summary:

Studies have shown that particle size reduction improves feed efficiency in all stages of production. Studies at Kansas State University have identified a recommended average particle size for corn-soybean meal based diets. Information regarding particle size in wheat is limited.

 

This study focuses on particle size in wheat with regards to feed efficiency to improve animal performance and income for producers by improving understanding of particle size under regional conditions.

 

Through utilizing a hammer mill it can be estimated that grinding barley from 850 to 550 um would cost between $0.65-$1.05/mt. Assuming that for every 100um the feed efficiency is improved by 1.3% it is estimated that a net savings of $7.80/pig in total feed cost can occur by reducing the particle size to 300 um.

 

As flowability is a concern when grinding particles finely it is suggested that finding the optimum balance between wheat and barley could address this issue as wheat is more flowable than barley.

Assessing Particle Size and the Cost of Grinding

Improving Biosecurity in Swine Transport

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Author: Sarah Ethier, Jennifer Brown, Ph.D

Publication: Centred on Swine, Winter 2016 Volume 22 Number 2

Summary:

While on farm biosecurity measures are increasingly stringent, a major gap that can allow for transmission of disease is biosecurity in transport. As such, new cleaning procedures for trailers must be developed to make sanitizing trailers easy and effective. Problems associated with cleaning trailers include the low number of trailers available, downtime required between loads, limited washing capacity, and trailer designs that make cleaning difficult.

After inventory of currently available trailers is taken and graded on ease of cleaning and ease of animal handling, automated systems will be developed to assist in cleaning the trailers.

The three main trailer companies supplying stock trailers to Canada are Wilson Trailer Company, Eby Trailers, and Merritt Equipment. Each of these trailers has both pros and cons. However, small changes such as capped end-plates and changes in crossbar shape can go a long way in making cleaning easier.
An up and coming trailer style is hydraulic. These trailers contain multiple flat decks that are filled with livestock and then hydraulically raised into place. This allows ease of pig movements and ease of cleaning. However, it is not known if these systems will withstand the harsh winters in Western Canada.

Improving Biosecurity in Swine Transport

Does the Inclusion of Lyso-Lecithin (Lecrid) Improve the Growth of Newly Weaned Pigs?

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Author: A.D. Beaulieu, P. Leterne

Publication: Centred on Swine, Spring 2017 Volume 23 Number 1

Summary:

The newly weaned piglet is abruptly transferred from a liquid milk diet, containing about 8% fat to a dry diet with approximately 5% fat. Moreover, fat digestibility of milk fat by the suckling pig approaches 95% while the digestion of dietary fat by the piglet shortly after weaning is only about 75% (cited by Price et al. 2013). Thus, supplementing dietary fat to the diet of the newly weaned piglet does not alleviate the deficit in energy intake experienced at this time.

Price et al. (2013) showed that the addition of lecithin to the diet of newly weaned piglets improved digestibility of long-chain fatty acids. However, similar to the results of others, this did not result in an improved growth rate. Lecithin, which is primarily phosphatidylcholine, is commonly added to food, because it is an emulsifier. It is listed in CFIA, Schedule IV. We hypothesized that Lyso-lecithin will improve digestibility of tallow, resulting in a performance response when the pigs are limiting in energy

Does the Inclusion of Lyso-Lecithin Improve Growth In Newly Weaned Pigs

Managing Feeding to Reduce Feed Wastage in Lactation

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Author:  Dr. Dan Columbus, Prairie Swine Centre

Publication: Centred on Swine, Spring 2017 Volume 23 Number 1

Summary:

Electronic feeding systems have multiple advantages over manual feed delivery including collection of feed intake data, controlled delivery of fresh feed, reduced feed wastage, and lower labour costs. However, these feed systems can be costly to install and maintain.

A simple feeding system was developed to reduce this cost consisting of a feed drop tube that extends to approximately one inch above the base of the feeder, which required the sow to manipulate the tube to release small quantities of feed.

A total of 45 sows and litters were randomly assigned to one of three feeding systems – manual feeding, a commercially available electronic sow feeder, or the modified system.

The type of feeding system used had no effect on sow body weight, body condition score, or back fat. Sow feed intake was significantly higher with manual feeding when compared to the other two feeding systems in the first two weeks of lactation, no difference was evident in the third week.

It was found that manual feeding of sows during lactation can result in higher feed usage with no corresponding increase in sow or litter productivity. At today’s feed prices, the reduction in feed intake associated with the electronic or modified feeding system would save producers an estimated $8.50 per lactation when compared to manual feeding. Therefore, the electronic and modified feeding systems should be considered to minimize feed wastage and maximize returns.

Managing Feeding to Reduce Wastage During Lactation

Optimum Space Allowances for Nursery Pigs

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Author:  Dr. Cyril Roy, Prairie Swine Centre

Publication: Centred on Swine, Fall 2017 Volume 23 Number 2

Summary:

Providing optimal space allowance has been show to increase average daily gain (ADG). There has been significant research that focused on grow-finish pigs; however the information regarding nursery pigs is limited. Although, having the optimum growth rate due to optimal space allowance is ideal it is not economically feasible. The optimum economic return is influence both by growth rates and overall barn output. Space allowance also affects feeding and drinking behavior and posture of the pigs.

 

Changes within the behavior of the pigs can be used as an early indicator for the potential impacts on productivity. Pigs raised in commercial settings are more susceptible to crowding stress than those managed under research farm conditions.

 

The greatest negative impact with lower space allowances (below k 0.0335) occurs between 3 and 5 weeks on commercial farm sites.

Optimizing Space Allowance for Nursery Pigs

Ventilation Converted Sow Rooms

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Author:  Brenardo Predicala, Ph.D. & Ken Engele, BSA.

Publication: Centred on Swine, Fall 2017 Volume 23 Number 2

Summary:

When converting to group housing for sows if remodeling of the previous ventilation systems does not occur, it is estimated that over-ventilating will occur at a rate of 33%. This will raise the heating energy consumption by 75% in the winter. Carefully redesigning the ventilation system will aid in ensuring optimal pig health as well as reducing energy costs.

 

Through the use of computer stimulation it was determined that utilizing a horizontal flow ventilation system (having the air inlets located opposite to the exhaust fans) resulted in the air being most effectively homogeneously mixed. Utilizing the horizontal flow ventilation system (HFVS) an in-barn evaluation was carried out to determine the ventilation effectiveness on temperature and HRE (heat removal effectiveness), air quality, sow condition and performance, and the behavior of the sow.

 

When comparing the remodeled ventilation system to the unmodified system it is apparent that the modified system more effective at removing heat and contaminants (such as CO2) from the room. In the room equipped with the HFVS the sows displayed a higher level of comfort and were overall less aggressive towards other sows.

 

The in barn evaluation determined that when comparing a converted room with an unmodified ventilation system to group housing with a HFVS that the HFVS resulted in a 21% reduction in natural gas consumption and a 14% reduction in electricity consumption. When looking at welfare, enrichment use was greater in the rooms with HFVS.

 Ventilating Converted Sow Rooms

Personal Protection & Training

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Author:  Ken Engele, BSA. Prairie Swine Centre

Publication: Centred on Swine, Spring 2018 Volume 24 Number 1

Summary: While auditing 24 farms with regards to their management practices it became apparent that producers are overall going a good job at implementing a safe workplace for their employees. The audit looked at the availability of dusk masks, hearing protection and hydrogen sulfide monitors, determining that all three are used to varying degrees within the industry. All practices utilized H2S monitors when pit pulling was occurring, however they were not always being used during routine activities which could result in the H2S concentration exceeding the accepted safe limits. Another aspect that was discussed was proper handling of pigs. Proper pig handling has been displayed through research to decrease stress for both the handler and the animal. The majority of producers implement some form of training with regards to animal handling for their operation.

Personal Protection and Training

Assessing Trailer Cleanliness

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Author:  Ken Engele, BSA. Prairie Swine Centre

Publication: Centred on Swine, Spring 2018 Volume 24 Number 1

Summary: In order to maintain effective biosecurity it is essential that proper washing and disinfection of the transport trailers occurs. Recent studies have focused on the use of ATP bioluminescence for the inspection of the trailers. Traditionally, microbiological culture method can be used but this takes time as it utilizes plated media. Beneficially ATP bioluminescence displays results in only minutes. A study was done that tested a minimum of 10 trailers per week at two different locations. Through this study a list was developed depicting the advantages and disadvantages of ATP bioluminescence.

Assessing Trailer Cleanliness

 

Advantage Disadvantage
 

Easy to implement

Additional step to the cleaning process
 

Easy to train staff

 

Proper handling and storage of swabs needs to occur for accurate results
 

Results in employees being more engaged in the cleaning process as they are curious to know how they are doing

Swabbing could require entering the trailer after disinfecting occurs
 

Removes some subjectivity from cleaning process

Samples a small area and does not eliminate visual inspection
 

Rapid assessment – eliminates significant downtime for the trailer

Variance in meter reading related to environmental contamination
 

Trailers that require additional cleaning are identified before leaving the wash bay

 

Meter is multipurpose – can be used to assess cleanliness in other areas of operation

 

Builds due diligence and quality control

 

Fewer rejected trailers at production facility

 

Of the two facilities that participated in the study, one will continue to utilize ATP bioluminescence during trailer inspection.

 
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