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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:

Chief Operating Officer – Advertisement

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases by admin on November 13, 2017 | No Comments

Chief Operating Officer

Prairie Swine Centre Inc. (PSC) is a unique research, knowledge transfer and training company focused on the Canadian pork industry with an operating budget approaching $4 million annually. This not-for-profit corporation has been delivering world-class expertise in support of applied production research for 25 years. The PSC farm, facilities, and offices are located near Floral, SK (approx. 10 km east of Saskatoon) and is affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan. A Chief Operating Officer (COO) is required to lead the organization of 30+ employees with a continued focus on stakeholder knowledge transfer, applied research, pork production, and the development of highly qualified people.

As the COO, you report to the Board of Directors and collaborate with the Board to develop and implement the vision and strategic plan for the organization. You are a dynamic and creative strategic thinker, capable of understanding and aligning the goals of stakeholders within PSC and developing proactive and innovative strategies to strengthen services, build business, and move PSC forward as a world-class knowledge development and transfer company.

View the full job description at our careers page.

Protecting What You Have

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases by PSCI on September 15, 2017 | No Comments

The reminders of the spread of PEDv across Manitoba the past 5 months remind us just how fragile our systems can be to external challenges. Current market prices and forward contracts have given us a well needed breather as an industry to rebuild/refurbish our farms and fix balance sheets. Is that current financial success holding us back?

What I mean – Are we taking threats seriously enough to actually change practices to protect our farms? This article is primarily health focused because we have had the opportunity to travel to many farms, conferences, open houses etc. the past 6 months and there is a disturbing complacency toward health threats emerging in our attitudes and practices in spite of the real threat PEDv represents. If you are reading this in southern Manitoba you are probably thinking that health is all we have thought about for months and yes we have changed and reviewed practices and everyone is on ‘high alert’. My concern is that outside of Manitoba we are not taking the same heightened awareness.

Two specific incidents come to mind. A packing plant tour is an excellent way to stay informed of how our product is transformed into food, this is particularly important for the students and staff at Prairie Swine Centre to help understand the larger industry. In 2014, several months after PEDv began wreaking havoc in the US, I was on a similar tour and everyone arrived with cleaned vehicles and were putting on plastic boot covers before they stepped out of their vehicle – in 2017 it was back to business as usual, farm vehicles in various states of cleanliness and not one pair of plastic boot covers to be seen. A second example was at a swine industry tradeshow, tractor trailers and goosenecks parked in the lot beside the passenger vehicles. It was not difficult to tell these trailers were swept out but not washed nor baked.

These two examples speak to my concern that we just aren’t using all the knowledge available to us to protect our farms.

At the same time I see headlines that tell us health challenges are all around us. Internationally Uruguay has identified PRRS for the first time in widely separated areas. The country undergoes regular testing so what happened? Closer to home, a PRRS virus variant previously associated with Minnesota is now in western Canada. Homegrown problems with Strep Suis seem to be on the rise. The Canada-West Swine Health Intelligence Network noted laboratories reporting an increase in positive cultures. Our own experience is that hot temperatures and extra movement and handling triggered a couple weeks of sudden losses that are not typical for this herd.

Our industry has enjoyed phenomenal growth in productivity and generally improving health status for several years. We know all too well that we cannot rely on continued access to antibiotics, and now additional scrutiny on zinc and previously copper in the EU promises to spill over and take yet one more tool from the troubleshooting toolbox. One editorial suggested 2.50 Euro per pig in reduced earning if Zinc Oxide became unavailable. These factors are all the more reason to keep the biosecurity high.
The following is sourced from the Canada-West Swine Health Intelligence Network Report July 31 regarding heightened biosecurity measures that should be considered as you review your biosecurity plan.

  • Managing Transport –wash and bake trucks
  • Managing any supplies, including feed ingredients and breeding stock coming from infected areas
  • Compost deadstock (to reduce rendering traffic to your farm)
  • Follow strict contractor protocols
  • Participate in the environmental testing programs

Our Centre is undergoing another internal biosecurity audit. We do this about every 18 months to 2 years, rotating between internal and external audits. Every time we find something. This is time well spent to protect what we have.

Using creep feeding as a strategy to improve post weaning feed intake and piglet growth

Posted in: Nutrition, Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases by PSCI on September 5, 2017 | No Comments

Overall, the provision of creep feed for 5 days prior to weaning had no effect on weaning weights or growth rate from day 21 to weaning, however, modest effects were observed on piglet growth rate in the nursery. Interestingly, within the creep treatment, it was the lighter piglets which took advantage of the creep feed, and this subset of piglets showed an improved growth rate. Therefore, the provision of creep feed in the farrowing room provides benefits to piglets that show evidence of consumption and it is the lighter-weight piglets which benefit most from the provision of creep feed, and thus within litter variability may be reduced.

Creep Feeding

Science of Ethology

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases, Welfare by PSCI on August 8, 2017 | No Comments

The field of Animal Science experienced an expansion of its goals during and subsequent to the 1960s. Much of this shift could be explained by concern over the intensive production practices that had developed. In addition to the goals of productivity and efficiency, issues such as food safety, environmental protection, and animal welfare became issues for the public, and therefore the producer. Animal agriculture not only had to be efficient, but it had to be carried out in a socially conscious manner. Just as productivity and efficiency involved several disciplines, the new goals (impact on behavior and welfare) were also best addressed in a multi-disciplinary manner, including several new ones.not sure about this, can we be more specific?

Ethology, or the study of animal behaviour, has had a role during both eras of Animal Science. As the discipline developed within biology in the mid-twentieth century, its applied component studied means to improve productivity in farm animals. Although a relatively minor discipline of the day, its contribution to animal productivity included reproductive, maternal, social and feeding behaviours as well as environmental control. There were few scientists in applied ethology. In the 1970s only three Canadian universities had agricultural faculty for whom behaviour could be called their primary discipline.

With greater emphasis on social concerns, ethology took on an expanded role, particularly in the area of animal care and welfare. This goal is still multi-disciplinary (see chapter on Animal Welfare Science), but ethology has been the most widely recognized of those disciplines. Much of the work has been to determine how well an animal can adapt to its production environment. In meeting this need for welfare assessment the discipline of ‘applied ethology’ has to some degree become the discipline of ‘welfare science’. Many of its scientists have become proficient, through personal training or collaboration, in disciplines such as stress physiology, immunology and environmental management.

However, the discipline also retains a strong production component. As consumers demand a change in production practices, ethology joins with other disciplines in finding ways to produce efficiently under the new standards. As an example, prod-free handling has become the standard for most situations in the pig industry for reasons of both welfare and meat quality. Ethology has contributed to this transition in management through facility design, handling methods, and training of personnel.

The bulk of this publication is on sow housing and management. Once the industry within a country decides to move to group housing, the role of ethology has been to develop facilities and management methods to ensure efficient production within those systems. Thus we now talk of grouping strategies, mixing vs feeding based aggression, and competitive vs non-competitive systems. All of these are based on behavioural principles.

Bringing Precision Agriculture to the Pork Industry

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases by PSCI on June 6, 2017 | No Comments

Precision farming is now a commonly accepted term. In a decade, it has become the standard in pursuit of best management practice. Precision agriculture is a way of thinking about your farm and it is raising the bar for the whole industry on what is possible to measure and thus manage. It includes all aspects of arable farming, from seeding rate to spraying only spots that require it, to continuous yield monitoring on combines replacing the grain weigh buggy. The data stream coming out of this technology places resources such as fertilizer or pesticide just where its required-and creates a database that allows analysis for impact of environmental (soil, moisture)  conditions. In short, allocation of expensive resources linked to collection of yield data. I expect that nothing will push net income up quicker on well-managed farms, and thus reinforce to management the value of the technology.

Download pdf

2017 Spring Producer Meetings

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases by PSCI on March 21, 2017 | No Comments



Three producer meetings will be held across Western Canada throughout April 2017

Meeting locations will consist of Swift Current, Saskatchewan  (April 11),  Strathmore, Alberta (April 12), and Portage la Prairie, Manitoba (April 25).  For more information please contact Ken Engele @ Prairie Swine Centre













2015-2016 Prairie Swine Centre Annual Report now on-line

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Press Releases by PSCI on November 30, 2016 | No Comments

Highlights from the 2015-2016 Annual Research Report include:

  • Visual inspection of newly cleaned transport trailers is not sufficient in assessing trailer cleanliness. Page 10
  • Preliminary results have shown that sows can tolerate temperature as low as 90C. Page 13
  • In-barn evaluation of ventilation systems indicated a 21% and 14% reduction in natural gas and electrical consumption respectively, when compared to traditional ventilation systems. Page 16
  • Inclusion of spray-dried animal plasma in DON-contaminated diets did not improve feed intake or growth rate. Page 19
  • Neither DON or spray-dried animal plasma had an affect on nursery pig performance. Page 22
    There was no evidence that fermented soybean meal used in this study was superior to standard soybean meal in improving growth rate or feed intake of newly weaned pigs. Page 24
  • Inclusion of Lyso-Lecithin (10% dietary fat) into high or low energy diets had no effect on growth or feed conversion when fed to newly weaned pigs . Page 26
    Increased creep disappearance was found with the use of a tray feeder indicating greater interaction with creep feed, however no benefits to growth rate were found. Page 28
  • Viable enrichments were found to be durable, with little to no maintenance required after one week of use. Page 31
  • Initial results of studies housing weaner pigs at different densities showed no effect of space allowance on growth, but significant effects on behavior. Page 34
  • The main goal of the National Sow Housing Conversion Project is to provide assistance to producers to guide them through the process of converting existing barn systems, or design of a new site. Page 36

Download the full version of the 2015-2016 Annual Research Report

ARR 2016 Cover Draft 2.indd

Red Deer Swine Technology Workshop October 19, 2016

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases by PSCI on September 28, 2016 | No Comments



Red Deer Swine Technology Workshop

October 19, 2016

Red Deer Sheraton



8:00am – 9:00am

Registration and Booth Visits


9:00 – 9:05am  Introductions and Welcome

9:05am – 9:45am Social License, Martin Bowman 

9:45am – 10:25am  Housing and Conversions, Jennifer Brown, Prairie Swine Centre  and Wim Van Wycke 

10:25am – 10:50am  Booth Introductions and Refreshment Break

10:50am – 11:30am  Best Cleaning and Disinfecting Practices, Dave Van Wellengham, Vetquinol 

 11:30am -12:15pm  Ventilation and Air Quality, Dr. Mike Brumm, Brumm Swine Consultancy  

12:15pm – 1:15pm  Networking Lunch

1:15pm – 1:25pm  Booth Introductions

 1:25pm -2:00pm  Best Practices for Farrowing ManagementMoshe Tipen, Red Willow 

 2:00pm – 2:25pm  Production Visits from the Sow Side, Curtis Possberg, Olymel 

 2:25pm – 2:45pm  Refreshment Break and Booth Visits

2:45pm – 3:15pm  Water Usage:  Cost and Stopping Wastage


3:15pm – 3:45pm   Hedging and the Decision Tree, Ron Gietz, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF)

Evaluating Your Shipping Distribution, Herman Simons, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF) 

3:45pm – 4:15pm  Risk Management, Derek Becker, Aon Risk Solutions 

4:15pm – 4:30pm  Wrap-Up



Interested in sponsorship opportunities or booking a trade show booth?

Sponsorship Details (PDF)

Please contact Kate Cheney at 403-244-7821 or

For registration questions or concerns, please contact Kimberley Nield at 403-2447821 or


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