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On Sept. 6th and 7th, 2016 OMAFRA, along with 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 discussion panel and exhibitor space.

Day 1 – Sept 6th, 4 pm until 8:30 pm
The day 1 evening 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.

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?

The registration brochure with full program can be found below or by visiting http://www.groupsowhousing.com/producer-events/

Pre-registration is required by Aug 26th, 2016. 

To Pre-register, contact:
Carrie Parsons
carrie.parsons@ontario.ca
519-271-0119
For more information, please contact:
Laura Eastwood, OMAFRA Swine Specialist
laura.eastwood@ontario.ca
519-271-6280

2016 Group Sow Housing Seminar Brochure – Electronic Final

Brochure Image

 

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On Sept 6 and 7, 2016 OMAFRA along with Swine Innovation Porc, Prairie Swine Centre and Ontario Pork are hosting a Group Sow Housing Seminar in Stratford, Ontario.

Two different seminars will present group sow housing options that follow the 2014 Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs, along with practical solutions to the challenges of different systems, and potential opportunities related to group housing. Day 1 is designed for producers who already have a group housing system in place, and Day 2 is open to anyone interested in learning more about group sow housing.

 

Seminar Program (subject to change without notice)

Day 1: For Producers with Group Housing Systems
4:00 pm              Registration
4:30 pm              Dealing with Aggression and Best Mixing Practices
Dr. Jennifer Brown, Prairie Swine Center, SK
5:15 pm              Capturing Potential Through Nutrition
Quincy Buis, University of Guelph
Dr. Laura Eastwood, OMAFRA
6:00 pm            Dinner
7:10 pm              Technology: Now and in the Future
John Van Engelen, Hog-Tied Farms Ltd.
7:30 pm              Producer Panel
8:30 pm             Closing Remarks, Social

 

Day 2: Open to Everyone

9:00 am              Registration
9:30 am              Welcoming Remarks
9:40 am              The Barn: New Building or Rennovation?
Murray Elliott, FGC Limited
Steve Beadle, P.Eng., OMAFRA
10:30 am           What to do with Sows during Renovation (depop vs. rollover)?
John Otten, South West Vets
11:00 am           Networking Break
11:30 am           National Sow Housing Conversion Project & Breaking the Myths
Dr. Jennifer Brown, Prairie Swine Center, SK
12:30 pm           Lunch
1:30 pm              Feature Speaker – Management: How to make it work
Dr. Julie Ménard, F. Ménard Inc.
2:30 pm              Capturing Potential Through Nutrition
Quincy Buis, University of Guelph
Dr. Laura Eastwood, OMAFRA
3:10 pm              Networking Break
3:40 pm              Technology: Now and in the Future
John Van Engelen, Hog-Tied Farms Ltd.
4:00 pm              2014 Workshop Producer Update – Where they Are Now?
Doug Ahrens, Ham Land Acres
4:15 pm              Producer Panel
5:30 pm              Closing remarks, Social

Registration details will be available late July. For more information please contact:

Laura Eastwood
Swine Specialist, OMAFRA
519-271-6280
laura.eastwood@ontario.ca
Group-Sow-Housing-Seminar-Ontario

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From a Prairie Swine Centre release:

GroupSowHousing.com Launched

Saskatoon, SK, January 13, 2016.  Providing pork producers with the latest information on different types of group sow housing systems, a new website groupsowhousing.com 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.”

Groupsowhousing.com 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.

GroupSowHousing.com 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.

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For more information, contact:

Dr. Jennifer Brown,

Research Scientist, Ethology

Prairie Swine Centre Inc 

Phone:  306-667-7442

Fax: 306-955-2510

E-mail: jennifer.brown@usask.ca

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Broken needles found in pork are a serious food safety hazard. Although such occurrences are rare, even one incident can damage consumer confidence in the industry.

Pork producers can play a key role in prevention of broken needles. The OMAFRA Factsheet “On-Farm Prevention of Broken Needles” explains practices that producers can follow to prevent broken needles from reaching consumers.

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From Farmscape.com:

Pork Producers Consider Sow Barn Conversion to Comply with New Pig Code Requirements

Lee Whittington – Prairie Swine Centre

Farmscape for April 22, 2015

To comply with new requirements under Canada’s revised Pig Code of Practice and maintain economic viability, most pork producers are considering converting existing sow barns from stall housing to group housing rather than building new. Under changes to Canada’s Pig Code of Practice, any new or expanded sow operations must employ group housing. In response swine research facilities across Canada, in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc, are ramping up a program under which researchers are working with individual producers through their conversions.
That work will be discussed today in Niverville and tomorrow in Portage as part of the Prairie Swine Centre’s 2015 spring producer meetings. Centre president and CEO Lee Wittington says, if they had the choice, the majority of producers would build new but for most that isn’t an affordable option.

Clip-Lee Wittington-Prairie Swine Centre:
We know that we can be successful.
If we start with a brand new barn, we know enough of the science and management of sows in groups that we can build a successful barn and they’re being built across North America and in Europe.
The challenge is that, given the last seven years of lack of sustained profitability, most producers have said, it looks like my option is to convert something I’ve already got, either a gestation barn, a stall barn or maybe a grow finish barn and can I convert that into group sow housing.
We started a program about five years ago, that our vision is to have a national program where there would be a couple of converted barns in every province that producers can rely on as a touch stone for how did it work and how did you come up with the concept, and make your new barn flow properly and accommodate the number of sows you wanted.

For more on the National Sow Housing Conversion Project visit the Prairie Swine Centre web site at prairieswine.com or Swine Innovation Porc at swineinnovationporc.ca.
For Farmscape.Ca, I’m Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council

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Piglet deaths prompt Sweden to trial new pig gestation methods

By Gerard O’Dwyer, in Helsinki, 16-Feb-2015

Sweden’s ministry of agriculture is funding a new pilot-project that seeks to establish if holding sows in farrowing crates allows more piglets to survive if the sow is immobilised during lactating.

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The following report was published in the October issue of the Pork News and Views newsletter. Selected resources from the Workshop Manual are available at www.ontariopork.ca under “Production Standards-Animal Care Resources” or www.prairieswine.com.

Sow Housing Workshop

 

 

OMAFRA, with support from Ontario Pork and Prairie Swine Centre (PSC), held a very successful Group Sow Housing Workshop this past September in Stratford. The one-day workshop was presented on consecutive days and limited to 50 participants each day to allow for greater participation and discussion. It provided practical information on group sow management, sow feeding systems and helped answer questions about renovations and new design which followed the new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs that was released in Canada this past spring. Three Ontario producers described their experiences transitioning to group sow housing systems followed by Dr. Jennifer Brown and Dr. Yolande Seddon, Prairie Swine Centre Group Sow Housing researchers, discussing the merits of each system. Dr. Kees de Lange, University of Guelph, explained how feeding systems need to change for a successful transition to feeding sows in group housing. The following is a brief report on the workshop.

 

New Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs

 

 

 

The new Code was released in March this year. Dr. Brown presented an overview of relevant areas. It includes changes to sow housing, pain management, space allowances, and environmental enrichment. For new construction there is a requirement that by July 1, 2014 mated gilts and sows must be housed in groups, with allowances around breeding and group management. As of July 1, 2024, gilts and sows must be housed in groups, or in individual pens, or in stalls if they are provided with the opportunity to turn around or exercise periodically, or otherwise have greater freedom of movement (suitable options will be clarified by July 1, 2019 based on scientific evidence). The Code is available at: www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/pigs.

 

National Sow Housing Conversion Project (NSHCP)

Dr. Brown also presented a summary of a project that will develop and document demonstration sites across the country to provide resources and advice for producers, and to create a central database of information. Producers will be able to see examples and evaluate different group housing systems. The project is looking for producers interested in barn renovations for group housing in 2015-2016, and who would be interested in sharing herd information and renovation documentation. In exchange, producers will receive: expert advice on renovation planning, management; training assistance with funding applications; and compensation for research barn access.

 

Group Housing with ESF

Mr. Doug Ahrens presented his experiences in setting up a system using Electronic Sow Feeding (ESF) and dynamic group housing. Dr. Brown then provided a comparison of group housing vs. individual stalls, and the possible impacts on sow welfare and production levels. She outlined the options available for group housing (feeding system, flooring, grouping strategy, grouping timing). In all there are 72 combinations of these factors that could be used:

What are the options?*

Feeding Floor Grouping Timing Total
Floor
Short stall Slat Static Weaning
Gated stall Partial Dynamic Pre-Implantation
ESF Bedded Post-Implantation
4 x3 x2 x3 =72

*From H. Gonyou

 

She compared aspects of the options and reported a Quebec industry analysis of the cost of conversion for different housing options, and the floor space requirements of the different feed systems. Acknowledging that early attempts with ESF systems encountered several challenges, she pointed out that technology, equipment design, and our own familiarity with computers has come a long way in 20 years. There is an increasing number of manufacturers, growing expertise, and a competitive market with new developments expected.

The possible advantages of dynamic mixing she highlighted were: more flexible and efficient use of space; sows can be added over 10 weeks (but at least 10 sows each time); if a sow returns, she can enter in the next cycle; less overall space is required (fewer pens and alleys). Among the disadvantages is the potential for repeated aggression on mixing, but if mixing is well managed aggression can be kept low.

Mr. John Van Engelen presented his experience in converting stalls to a group housing system using ESF. Dr. Seddon followed with an overview of pen configurations and management strategies to consider when implementing ESF. A common problem is that of ‘sow recycling’, when sows repeatedly enter the ESF system to try to get more feed. This reduces sow throughput, can cause some sows to miss a feeding, create stress and competition, and increase wear and tear on the equipment. Steps to reduce recycling include designing the layout so it is farther to walk to regain access (e.g. by using a dividing wall), using a shutter or retractable feed bowl, and ensuring feeders are not overstocked.

Dr. Seddon illustrated a number of barn designs and rules of thumb when considering the layout of ‘bedroom’ lying areas, alleyways and areas of passing, conserving space (especially when converting from an existing barn footprint), and the importance of flooring to sow leg health. The importance of training was emphasized, and a number of tips provided. Both producers who spoke about ESF indicated that training had been a challenge and that starting with their gilts would have been a better approach. She concluded with some good general management and grouping strategies.

 

Competitive Feeding Systems

Mr. Geert Geene provided information on his group housing system using a trough based drop feed system. Dr. Seddon followed with and outline of different competitive feedings systems, space considerations, and pen design and management strategies. Floor feeding vs. non gated stall systems, different flooring types, and building space requirements were compared. Although there is generally lower capital costs compared to ESF, there are challenges around controlling individual feeding and dominant sows. With careful management and observation these can be managed, but this probably requires more labour than an ESF system. She provided a comprehensive overview of factors to consider when making a decision, including barn design, feeder types, and space allowances.

 

Sow Nutrition

Dr. de Lange presented a thorough overview of “Nutrition for group sow housing”. He starting with the observations that, while the number of pigs born has increased, it is lightweight pigs that have increased, and that birth weight influences body weight at market time. This led to his outline of strategies to improve gestation feeding to improve sow lifetime productivity through an increase in piglet birth weight with increasing litter size, while controlling feed costs, improving sow welfare, and decreasing nutrient losses to the environment. Recommended interventions are ‘bump feeding’ of no more than 0.40 kg/d during late gestation, and the use of fiber sources to induce satiety and reduce abnormal behaviour.

He outlined some nutritional aspects of different feeding systems for group housing and their varying requirements for space, capital investment, and operator skill. He suggests that ESF offers the most potential for the dynamic and precision feeding of individual sows.

 

Summary

The workshop was well attended and generated a lot of questions and good discussion on the producer reports and the options and issues presented by the three researchers.

The manual included handouts from the presenters and a number of relevant resources including excerpts from the Code of Practice and factsheets and information on sow housing and behaviour from the Prairie Swine Centre. Selected resources are available at www.ontariopork.ca under “Production Standards-Animal Care Resources” or www.prairieswine.com.

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