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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:

Red Deer Swine Technology Workshop October 19, 2016

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases by admin 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


National Sow Housing Conversion Newsletter

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Press Releases, Welfare by admin on July 18, 2016 | No Comments

June 2016 Vol. 1, Issue 3

The NSHCP is a four year project, with the goal of providing Canadian pork producers with reliable information on barn renovations and management of group housed sows. This newsletter marks the midpoint of the project which is gathering steam as interest in group housing grows across the country. We look forward to achieving a lot more before project completion in December 2017, and appreciate the role that strong hog markets have played recently. Good returns on production are essential for producers’ confidence in the industry, and the ability to plan for the future.

Doug Richards joined the project team in the fall of 2015, shortly after his retirement as a swine extension specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agricultural Food And Rural Affairs. Doug has a great background of working with pork producers and Ontario Pork, and many years of experience with the London Swine Conference and other producer events. Now (in semi-retirement), he enjoys the opportunity of seeing barns across the country, and helping producers with the information they need to move forward with group sow housing.

Doug was instrumental in getting the project website up and running ( Since the website launch in January 2016, we have made a number of additions, and many more improvements are in the works to make the site as comprehensive as possible. If you haven’t seen it yet, please take a look, we welcome your comments and suggestions!

NSHC Newsletter vol 1 – 3

Group Sow Housing Seminar – September 6th and 7th, Stratford, Ontario

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Press Releases, Welfare by admin on July 13, 2016 | No Comments

Mark Your Calendars!! Group Sow Housing Seminar – September 6th and 7th, Stratford
On Sept. 6th and 7th, 2016 OMAFRA, along with Prairie Swine Centre, Ontario Pork and Swine Innovation Porc will host a Group Sow Housing Seminar. Two different seminars will present group sow housing options with practical solutions to the challenges of different systems, along with potential opportunities associated with group housing. Both days will feature a producer panel and exhibitor space.

Day 1 – Sept 6th, 4 pm until 8:30 pm
The day 1 program is designed for producers who already have group housing systems in place. We will provide ample opportunities for discussions amongst producers, and will focus not only on how to handle some of the challenges producers encounter, but on the potential opportunities that are available to producers within these systems. Dr. Jennifer Brown from the Prairie Swine Centre will talk about aggression and best mixing practices, and Quincy Buis and Dr. Laura Eastwood will focus on capturing added potential through Nutrition. Producer John Van Engelen will also talk about where technology is going in the future.

Day 2 – Sept 7th, 9 am until 5:30 pm
The day 2 program is designed for producers who are looking at group sow housing options. This full day program will provide practical information from a wide variety of speakers. Should you renovate or build new? What will you do with your sows during a renovation? What are producers doing across Canada? How can you capture added potential through Nutrition? What technologies are coming down the line? All of these are topics that will be discussed throughout the day. Dr. Julie Ménard from F Ménard in Quebec will be joining us as our Feature Speaker, where she will talk about her experience with management and making group housing work. A producer update and producer panel will also be a part of the day 2 program.

Registration details will be available later this summer. Program details can be found at www.groupsow in the “producer events” section.

For more information, please contact:
Laura Eastwood, OMAFRA Swine Specialist 519-271-6280


H2S Awareness Training On-Line Course

Posted in: Environment, Pork Insight Articles, Press Releases by admin on April 13, 2016 | No Comments

Hydrogen Sulphine Awareness Training for Liquid Manure Handling Systems

The 2-Hour On-Line Workshop Includes Instruction in:

  • Properties of H2S
  • Exposure limits to H2S
  • Detection of H2S
  • Demonstration of H2S monitoring and safety equipment
  • Identifying potentially hazardous locations
  • Importance of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and a hands-on approach to writing a procedure
  • Rescue strategies
  • Importance of implementing an emergency response plan

Who Should take the Awareness On-line Course?

Anyone working in an intensive livestock operation or is involved with the handling of liquid manure. Specifically employees and owner-operators in the following sectors:

  • Swine Industry
  • Dairy Industry
  • Liquid Manure Transportation

Important Information and Education for Anyone Who Works with or Transports Liquid Manure

How can you benefit from the Hydrogen Sulphide Awareness Course?

  • Increased workplace safety by increasing awareness of H2S
  • Discover the latest information in strategies to reduce H2S exposure
  • Training is an investment in people

What will you learn with the Hydrogen Sulphide Awareness Course?

  • H2S gas, its properties and threat to human health
  • How to be prepared
  • How to work towards a safer workplace
  • Rescue techniques and safety procedures
  • Case study learning technique is lively and interactive
and/or download our complete brochure.
Start Now to educate yourself on H2S Awareness
Click the link below to start the course

PSC H2S Awareness On-line Course

2016 Prairie Swine Centre Producer Meeting Schedule

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases by admin on March 17, 2016 | No Comments


Wednesday, April 6th

Niverville, Manitoba

Niverville Heritage Centre,

100 Heritage Trail

9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 7th

Portage la Prairie, Manitoba


2401 Saskatchewan Ave

11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Niverville details

Portage details


Tuesday, April 19th

Red Deer, Alberta

Radisson Hotel,

6500 67th Street

10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 20th

Lethbridge, Alberta

Lethbridge Country Kitchen,

1715 Mayor McGrath Drive South

10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 28th

Swift Current, Saskatchewan

Days Inn

905 North Service Rd

10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Red Deer details

Lethbridge details

Swift Current details Launched

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases by admin on January 8, 2016 | No Comments Launched

Saskatoon, SK, January 8, 2016.  Providing pork producers with the latest information on different types of group sow housing systems, a new website has been launched with the goal of assisting the swine industry in the transition from stalls to groups.  With recent changes to Canada’s Pig Code of Practice all barns newly built or renovated to house gestating sows must utilize group housing, and all producers are encouraged to move to group housing by 2024.  According to Dr. Jennifer Brown the transition to group sow housing needs to be well thought out in advance in order to minimize costs, maintain production and ensure the best possible system is in place for the sows.  “It’s not a one size fits all approach, the website is intended to provide information and increase knowledge and confidence in the swine industry as people look towards making the change to group sow housing and away from stalls.” sets out to compile the best science on how to manage sows in groups.  In addition it provides real world examples of producers who have successfully made the transition to group sow housing.  This includes documenting their rationale for the transition to groups, management of the new system, design and construction of group housing, and the costs involved.  According to Dr. Jennifer Brown “the producer experience is a key component of the website, as it gives other producers a clear idea of what’s involved in the transition.”

Producers looking for more information on transitioning to group sow housing will find resources dedicated to different feeding systems (competitive and non-competitive), grouping strategies, and training and management of gilts and sows under group systems. is part of the National Sow Housing Conversion Project, funded in part through Swine Innovation Porc, much of the information being available in both official languages.  This project is funded by Swine Innovation Porc within the Swine Cluster 2: Driving Results Through Innovation research program. Funding is provided by Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada through the AgriInnovation Program, provincial producer organizations and industry partners.

Prairie Swine Centre Inc., located near Saskatoon, is a non-profit research corporation affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan, and is recognized globally for its contributions to practical, applied science in pork production in the disciplines of nutrition, engineering and applied animal behaviour.

For pdf version please click here National Sow Housing Website Launch- January 2016



For more information, contact:

Dr. Jennifer Brown,

Research Scientist, Ethology

Prairie Swine Centre Inc

Phone:  306-667-7442

Fax: 306-955-2510


Upcoming Swine Industry Events

Posted in: Press Releases by admin on November 3, 2015 | No Comments

The next several months are a busy one in the hog industry.  While winter can create different challenges within the production system, being properly prepared can save time and money.  Throughout the winter there are several key hog industry events designed to provide pork producers new ideas in management and technologies to enhance the overall sustainability and competitive position of their business.  Take this opportunity to attend these events – follow the links for more specific program details for each industry events.

Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium
November 17-18, 2015
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Topics include:

  • Novel management strategies for the farrrowing sow, Dr. Jennifer Brown
  • Raised without antibiotics pork production, Dr. Shawn Davidson
  • Dealing with Mycotoxins in the Grower-Finisher Barn, Dr. Denise Beaulieu
  • Enrichment and exercise for swine, Dr. Yolande Seddon

Brandon Hog Days
December 2, 2015
Brandon, Manitoiba

Trade show and carcass quality competition

Farms at the Table Conference
December 9-10, 2015
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Topics include:

  • What’s up with our Food? Positioning Canada’s Food System for Change and Opportunity, David McInnes
  • The Power of Opening Farmer Gates, Joe Pozzi
  • From Farm to Shelf: A Retailer’s Perspective, Federated Co-operatives

Banff Pork Seminar
January 12-14, 2016
Banff, Alberta

Topics include:

  • Optimizing Feed & Farm Management to Market Conditions, Mike Tokach
  • Alternative Feedstuffs & Feeding Programs, Ruurd Zijlstra
  • Key Indicators of Breeding Herd Productivity, Ron Ketchem
  • Animal Welfare & Public Perceptions, Temple Grandin


National Chair in Swine Welfare – Your Input is Important

Posted in: Press Releases by admin on October 5, 2015 | No Comments

A notice for industry participation in the selection of the industry-sponsored National Chair in Swine Welfare.

The presentations by the candidate to seek the National Chair in Swine Welfare position took place September 24-25 in Saskatoon. A packed lecture theater on the Thursday drew industry, academics and students to learn about the proposed research program and how that will address the challenges of the Canadian pork industry in the areas of care and welfare. The second presentation spoke directly to Canada’s Code of Practice. To accommodate the national scope and support of this position we are inviting the industry to view and comment on the presentations made by Dr. Yolnade Seddon during the interview process.

Both presentations can be found in the links below.

This interview team is committed to gathering comments from the industry people who met Yolande in person, as well as those who will see her within the video links attached.

Please send any questions or comments to Lee Whittington or Committee Chair Dr. Murray Jelinski, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, by Friday October 9.

Thank you for your continued interest and support for this important industry-funded position.

Please copy and paste the following links into your web browser.
For other interviews with Dr Seddon see
Thank you for your input and support.

PEDv Manure Sampling Protocol

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases by admin on January 5, 2015 | No Comments

PEDv can affect all pigs and is often fatal to newborn pigs. However, it does not affect any other species, including humans, and is not a food safety issue. 

Manitoba Pork has initiated a PEDv Manure Sampling project in 2014.

To participate in the project, producers can contact project coordinator, Darlene Meakin, at 204-897-0622 or

The following video produced by Manitoba Pork will take you through proper manure sampling procedure in testing for PEDv.

Barn Integrity Assessment Checklist

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases by admin on December 2, 2014 | No Comments

On the third week of March 2014 pork producers saw something they had never seen before – individual pigs sold for more than $300 each. The fact that this coincided with moderating grain prices meant that margins had never been better in recent memory (last 7 years). Now what? Although there is plenty of debt to soak up these margins, there is a noticeable change in perceptions on the future of the pork industry. A new future could be imagined that included facility and equipment renewal. Over the next 2 years there will be plans and purchase decisions made to address pent up demand by facilities and their managers to address the repair and maintenance concerns of pig barns.  Nationally we have an aging ‘fleet’ of barns, with the last big building effort concentrated between 1991 and 1998; these barns have seen more than half their productive life, even with good maintenance. This is complicated by the fact the maintenance and repairs over the past 7 years have been well below the level required to keep the ‘fleet’ in tip top shape. Some barns have passed their ‘best before date’, but for those barns we want to remain operational for the next 20 years we need to consider reinvestment.  The challenge, there are many demands and few resources so how do you decide where the first dollar should be spent?

It would be nice to “have an app for that” but the complex considerations of capital vs operational investments, people vs infrastructure, and short-term vs long-term return on investment make analysis of this ‘apples and oranges’ comparison very challenging. We challenged ourselves to consider what kind of a tool might assist in making these decisions logical and a good contributor to profitability. We also saw this challenge of barn reinvestment choices being influenced by personal preference, and rather than money spent being a positive influence on future cash flow and profitability, they could be simply expenditures on ‘my favourite things’.

Here is a checklist approach to making objective barn investment decisions. We considered a simple approach using a combination of perceived risk of not making a change in each area, and the impact of a worst case scenario if catastrophic failure of that overlooked area was to occur. Our suggestion is you take a walk around and through the entire barn; you may want to have someone accompany you since perception of risk and impact is subjective and the exercise could benefit from a second opinion. You will also want to take a few tools with you to poke and prod and assess equipment and structure. This is where the title of this article comes in, “Shining a light…” is a direct reference to your need to have a high intensity flashlight with you to inspect below slats, in attics and behind pillars and equipment. We recommend at least 200 ft candle power (as little as $50) and better yet 800 ft candle lights, an inexpensive investment that will bolster your judgment with greater clarity in important areas such as assessing concrete cracks and rafter strength. The other tools you will need include a ladder tall enough to allow you to get on the roof, a small ladder in the barn for accessing attic hatches, and in the tool belt a screwdriver and knife for scrapping and digging, perhaps a can of fluorescent paint to mark areas for re-inspection in the future.

The following Risk Assessment Checklist looks at four areas of consideration (Biosecurity, Structural, Utilities, Operational), certainly more could have been added but in balancing the need for brevity and ease of use against being all encompassing we opted for a quick tool that will reveal the areas of greatest need and allow you to pursue an action plan or seek professional structural or other engineering and construction advice. A special note regarding safety for people working in barns; the structural and utility sections of the checklist identify safety considerations, for example marked exits, emergency egress exits and fire separation to increase time to exit the building, these may not have been part of the original barn plan but should be considered essential upgrades as we evaluate our barn structures.

A special thanks to Murray Elliot, of FGC Limited (Stratford, Ontario) for his valued input into this project.

To view the full document and assessment check list please click on the following link.

Barn Integrity Checklist

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