The retrofit project at Greenwald Colony is well underway. The Greenwald Colony is converting their traditional gestation stall barn into a loose sow housing set up with an electronic sow feeding systems (ESF). Kevin Kurbis (New Standard Ag) had designed the project and is facilitating the entire remodel. This video shows the barn (still mostly stalls) at the beginning of the transformation. Kevin explains the process and many of the steps we are going to see along the way. So without further delay - here's Kevin!
In recent discussions, we have been fairly nostalgic. Spending time thinking about where we came from can be helpful in figuring out where we are going. Also, as we have many relationships and conversations with our European neighbors, we are reminded that at least here in the US, we are behind in some of the latest in terms of animal well-being. This is not to say everyone is behind, but as a whole, compared with Scandinavia and Europe we have areas we can still improve and grow in to.
We recently were able to talk with our good friend Mikael Kirk of AgriSys based in Denmark. Mikael founded ArgiSys in 2009 and has experience with transitioning many barns to ESF as well as new projects all over the world.
As we dive deeper and deeper into the information age, each of us has more access to any information we desire—from reviews on the best new car to purchase, to the best video streaming service, to finding out exactly where our meat comes from.
Well, that last one may not entirely be here yet, but it is happening.
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.