When I was asked to write an article reflecting on recent advancements in the pork production industry, I was first forced to evaluate where we were ten years ago. That was a reasonably straightforward exercise for me, as my son is currently ten years old—but where were we as an industry? Here are a few things that came to mind. They help explain the advancements in both the pork industry and our daily lives.
Group housing is group housing, right?
Loose sow housing is loose sow housing, right?
We've seen it so many times. Other companies are promoting their equipment that only work with their own version of "loose" sow housing. The only problem is that a majority of current design offerings keep sows in stalls for just under half of their gestation.
But it’s not just our opinions on which options are best for sows, the facts speak for themselves.
It should go without saying, but the idea and ethos behind group housing is to get sows out of stalls.
The industry's move toward greater transparency in our animal husbandry practices has coincided with increasing public concern over meat sources. This pressure, combined with an industry adopted Code of Practice (since 2014) in Canada, and various legislative initiatives in some states is leading more and more producers to move to group housing over stalls.
Olymel L.P. is Canada's leader in the production, processing and distribution of pork and poultry meats and is Canada’s largest hog producer. The company has made feeding the world its mission, which it pursues passionately with products of impeccable quality. The company employs over 12,000 people and has production and processing facilities in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. Olymel exports nearly a third of its total sales. Its annual sales are on the order of $3.5 billion.
With a focus on the future of the industry, over 20,000 people gathered for the 2018 World Pork Expo in 2018. This was the 30th year for the international expo and this year broke another record with more exhibitors in the trade show than ever before. New Standard was proud to represent pioneering concepts in group housing at our booth as well as through an in-depth panel discussion with leaders in the industry. Read on for our take on WPX 2018!
When it comes to building a new sow barn, there are a lot of considerations that factor into the final design. One of the things we've learned as we've designed barns for our customers is that everyone has a wish list. We've also learned that while many customers know they want a less stressful setup, they may not necessarily know that barn technology can help with that goal. With that in mind, here is an infographic with five technologies that should not just be on your "wish" list, but your "must-have" list.
This will probably seem like a no-brainer, but one of the biggest factors determining success on a hog farm is making sure the sows that are supposed to be pregnant are actually pregnant. In traditional gestation stalls workers are tasked with performing ultrasound on each bred sow, a job that can be dangerous both for workers and pigs. Time consumption is a big factor with this method.
Even after switching to group housing, some farms still struggle to find a good system for identifying sows in heat. Watching for visual signs of estrus is a skill that takes time to develop and require close staff monitoring. Thankfully with New Standard and Nedap Livestock Management, the task of identifying and dealing with open sows gets a whole lot easier.