It is an uncomfortable question to ask yourself, but do you know if your swine barn is designed to keep up with the pork industry trends in the next 20 years? There is no doubt that the industry has been changing rapidly over the past 20 years, and the next 20 years will likely keep the same pace. As a pork producer it is vital to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, especially in sow housing. Hog barn designs from 20 years ago are quickly becoming outdated, and it is time to start considering what you can do so the rest of the pork industry doesn't leave you behind.
Sow Housing Trends
We are all aware of the social pressure on the pork industry today. As end consumers are demanding animal welfare issues be addressed in production, the industry is changing to be more proactive with this in hog barn designs. Rising concerns regarding animal welfare, increasing environmental regulations, higher labor costs, and relatively low pork prices are all forcing the industry to evolve. How your hog barn is designed directly impacts how you are able to deal with these forces and tightening profit margins. We always have to be looking at the future to understand how to proactively incorporate swine housing technology into new hog barn designs or barn remodeling designs.
Group Sow Housing
The industry norm is transitioning from gestation stall housing to group sow housing (or loose housing). We believe this is for the better, not only for the pigs, but also for your bottom line. With many major food companies stating that all of their pork will come from group housing barns, it is also a necessity. Smithfield and Maple Leaf are both committed to having all of their sows living in group housing barns in the near future and others are following their lead. While this has been frustrating for some producers using gestation stall barns, they are making changes that are better for the pigs, end consumers, and their bottom lines.
While shifting to group housing is a daunting thought, it is an essential move. To make it easier on you and your pigs, there are processes that help you transition your pigs to loose housing with far less stress than you would imagine. Once your pigs are trained into the group gestation pens, you will notice an immediate difference. The girls are happier and are easier to manage. When done correctly, group housing will put less stress on your sows, which will make them healthier and able to produce a higher number of healthier piglets.
Electronic Sow Feeding and Weight Monitoring
Traditional feeding systems are still functional, but with rising costs and large competition in the industry, they will soon be inefficient and a poor option for producers. Incorporating modern feeding and monitoring technology into your swine barn is a must for improving efficiency and cutting costs. With Electronic Sow Feeding and Weight Monitoring scales, producers are able to monitor how much each pig is eating and how much weight each sow or gilt is gaining during pregnancy. By determining each girl's weight, you are able to customize feed plans for each sow, which will keep your feed waste down and your pigs healthier. Not only does this help cut your costs and improve your animals' health, it also keeps record of every pig's history through production allowing you to constantly improve based on past performance.
The New Standard team is devoted to keeping up with the latest technological trends in the pork industry. We would love to discuss how you can prepare your swine barn for the next 20 years. If you are interested in talking with us, give us a call or click the button below.