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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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A release from the London Swine Conference yesterday www.londonswineconference.ca.

Note the Registration deadline is March 14th. Contact 519-873-4077 or debra.allison@ontario.ca

For Immediate Release…

  “14th London Swine Conference (LSC) moves to Hilton”

 London ON, March 4, 2014 – The theme is “Positioning for Success” as the pork industry prepares to gather in London for the fourteenth annual LSC.  These two full days of presentations and workshops have moved to the Hilton London for Wednesday and Thursday, March 26 & 27, 2014.  Speakers will cover topics ranging from practical on-farm decision making and management to the impacts of international trade on pork production.

 “I am excited about the timely topics with something for everyone” says conference Chair Teresa Van Raay.  The program will once again be targeted for sow herds on Wednesday, and wean to finish on Thursday.  “With speakers from across the continent and a new venue I am looking forward to seeing everyone at this premier swine industry conference.”

Wednesday’s Sow-focused agenda will include ‘Lessons Learned from PEDv’, along with experts in the areas of group sow housing, nutrition and lactation, and Ontario’s position in the global marketplace.  At the farm level, workshops will consider piglet and milk management, reproductive troubleshooting, feeding the sow, and practical aspects of  group sow housing.

On Thursday, the focus is on Wean to Finish.  Topics such as real factors that affect profitability, the importance of international trade to Ontario production, and national health status monitoring will be covered.  Farm level workshops will include managing pile-ups, benchmarking and measuring profitability on-farm, spotting problems early, higher fiber diets, and improving feed efficiency.

As always, the LSC program will include leading researchers, industry experts and pork producers.  This unique mix of perspectives provides new insights and can lead to lively workshop discussions.  Presenters this year will include:  Steve Pollmann, Murphy Brown West; Doug MacDougald, South West Ontario Veterinary Services; Chris Byra, Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network; Ron Bates, Michigan State University; Laurie Connor, University of Manitoba; Chantal Farmer, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Ruurd Zijlstra, University of Alberta; Kevin Grier, George Morris Centre; Graeme McDermid, Cronin Pork Ltd.; Kathleen Sullivan, Trade Consultant.

For a listing of all conference speakers and the full program visit:  www.londonswineconference.ca

Conference fees are $135 per day which includes one copy of the proceedings, a reception on Wednesday, lunch and all coffee breaks.  Discounts are available for groups of five or more who register and submit one payment.  Registration deadline is March 14, 2014.  Please note that there is no registration at the door.

The London Swine Conference is a joint effort by staff from Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs (OMAF and MRA), Ontario Pork, University of Guelph, Ontario Pork Industry Council, and is made possible through strong industry sponsorship.

 -30-

 For more information:

Debra Allison, Registration Coordinator, OMAF and MRA, (519) 873-4077, Debra.Allison@ontario.ca, www.londonswineconference.ca

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The following is from a CFIA email update distributed yesterday:

Update: Canadian Food Inspection Agency Investigation into Feed as a Possible Source of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED)

March 3, 2014: Scientific testing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) cannot confirm a link between feed containing blood plasma and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) cases in Canada.

The study demonstrated that the porcine blood plasma in question contained PED virus capable of causing disease in pigs. However, the study could not demonstrate that the feed pellets containing the blood plasma were capable of causing disease.

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/animals/terrestrial-animals/diseases/other-diseases/ped/2014-03-03/eng/1393891410882/1393891411866

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Mise à jour : Enquête de l’Agence canadienne d’inspection des aliments à l’effet que des aliments du bétail pourraient être la source de la diarrhée épidémique porcine (DEP)

Le 3 mars 2014 : Les analyses scientifiques effectuées par l’Agence canadienne d’inspection des aliments (ACIA) ne permettent de confirmer l’existence d’un lien entre les aliments du bétail contenant du plasma sanguin et les cas de diarrhée épidémique porcine (DEP) signalés au Canada.

L’étude a démontré que le plasma sanguin de porc visé contenait le virus de la DEP pouvant causer la maladie chez les porcs. Cependant, l’étude n’a pas permis de conclure que les aliments granulés contenant le plasma sanguin pouvaient causer la maladie.

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/animaux/animaux-terrestres/maladies/autres-maladies/dep/2014-03-03/fra/1393891410882/1393891411866

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The complete proceedings of the 33rd Centralia Swine Research Update, held January 29th, are now available online at www.centraliaswineresearch.ca. Besides the presented topics, the proceedings contain more than twenty written contributions.

The meeting was well-attended and generated many favourable comments on everything from the great presentations to the pie.

Centralia 2014 logo small The Centralia Swine Research Update was initiated in 1982 by staff at Centralia College to bring researchers and their work together with participants in the pork industry. The event continues to be planned and executed by a committee of industry partners, with support from staff at OMAF and MRA. Its success over the past three decades is due to the quality and timeliness of the program, and the participation of local researchers and experts, as well as experts brought in from other areas.

This year’s program was a great example of this, with Dr. Yolande Seddon from the Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatchewan visiting to speak on ‘Sow Lameness, Being Aware and Taking Action’ and ‘Considerations for Providing Quality Space to Loose Housed Sows’.  Dr. Kees de Lange from the University of Guelph talked about ‘Entire Males for Commercial Pork Production’.  Frank Wood from Conestoga Meat Packers addressed hernias from a packers’ perspective. To round out the program, researchers and graduate students covered in-transit losses, antimicrobial resistance, rodenticide ingestion, genetic resistance to disease, benchmarking Ontario farms, anorexic piglets, and the impact of nursery diets on piglet immune response. Finally, Dr. Mike DeGroot from Ontario Pork gave an update on the evolving PED situation.

For advisory notices, and for regularly updated links to information and resources for the industry related to PED, visit Ontario.ca/swine.

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An updated program for the 33rd Centralia Swine Research Update (Kirkton ON, January 29) has been posted at http://www.centraliaswineresearch.ca.

The Centralia Swine Research Update was initiated in 1982 by staff at Centralia College to bring researchers and their work together with participants in the pork industry. The event continues to be planned and executed by a committee of industry partners, with support from staff at OMAF and MRA. It’s success over the past three decades is due to the quality and timeliness of the program and the participation of local researchers and experts, as well as experts brought in from other regions.

This year’s program is a great example, with Dr. Yolande Seddon from the Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatchewan visiting to speak on ‘Sow Lameness, Being Aware and Taking Action’ and other topics related to sow management.  Dr. Mike DeGroot, a veterinarian with Ontario Pork, will give us an update on the very important topic of PED (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea), a disease that’s causing a lot of trouble in the US and which we are working hard to keep out of Canada.  Dr. Kees de Lange from the University of Guelph will talk about ‘Entire Males for Commercial Pork Production’.  Frank Wood from Conestoga Meat Packers will address hernias from a processor’s perspective. To round out the program, researchers and graduate students will cover in-transit losses, antimicrobial resistance, rodenticide ingestion, genetic resistance to disease, benchmarking, anorexic piglets, and the impact of nursery diets on piglet immune response.

Besides summaries of these topics, the proceedings from the meeting will contain many written contributions covering current research and industry issues.

All this and a hot lunch is available for $20 if you’re a producer or a student, or $40 for industry reps.

The registration deadline is January 24th.

To register, email or telephone Carrie Parsons at carrie.parsons@ontario.ca or (519) 271-0119.

Registration and coffee starts at 9:15; the program runs from 9:50am to 3:15pm. Visit the website for the full program, past proceedings, and other information: http://www.centraliaswineresearch.ca.

Hope to see you there.

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Hold Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 for the 33rd Annual Centralia Swine Research Update in Kirkton.

Centralia 2014 logo smallCentralia Swine Research Update aims to bring recent research results and practical information to the Ontario pork industry.

Featuring:

Dr. Kees de Lange, University of Guelph on “Feeding Intact Males for Market”

Dr. Yolande Seddon, Prairie Swine Centre on “Sow Lameness” and other aspects of sow management

Also, a PED Update and many other topics will be on the agenda. Follow http://www.CentraliaSwineResearch.ca for full program details and registration information, coming soon.

A great program, a great lunch, and a great networking opportunity all in one. Past proceedings of this meeting are available on the website.

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Vitamin Dis an essential nutritional component of swine diets. It regulates calcium and phosphorus absorption and metabolism, and appears to regulate other metabolic processes in animal cells. A recent pilot project on four swine farms in Ontario looked at the variation of vitamin Din swine diets.  Find out more   

  

 

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