Best Practices: How Do You Measure Up?
An audit was completed on Canadian pork barns in 2017, with areas for improvement including farrowing systems, nursery facilities, finishing facilities and managing water intake. The optimal farrowing room environment is often achieved, with many of the barns using heat lamps, pads or both, as well as providing creep feed. A tray feeder should be used rather than a standard feeder when supplying creep feed in order to increase consumption. Most nursery facilities had a draft-free dry environment with fresh air, feed and water. The only area needing improvement was the installing enrichment objects, with only 11% of participating barns practicing this. Another practice commonly seen was a nursery time of 5-7 weeks. The group size varied, with most having groups of 50 or less and some having larger groups. Areas of improvement for finishing facilities include providing enrichment, water availability and re-assessment of sorting pigs. To those who had enrichment in the pens, chains and wood were the most common choices. Many barns use wet/dry feeders but these should not be the sole water source. By installing an additional drinker, average daily gain and feed efficiency can be improved. When sorting during the move to finishing, it should not be based on nutritional needs. This practice can be beneficial for newly weaned pigs or split-sex feeding though. Finishing pigs can waste up to 25% of water, even from well-managed nipple drinkers. Most of the barns had a flow rate that was too high. Proper flow rates are 1.0 – 2.0 L/min in farrowing, and 0.5 – 1.5 L/min in other production areas. When nipple drinkers are mounted at 90°, they should reach shoulder height of the pigs while when set at 45°, they should be 5 cm or 2 inches above the pack of the smallest pig in the pen. By implementing these practices, they barn will be more cost-effective, productive and welfare-friendly.
Best Practices – How Do You Measure Up (full article)