Get answers to group sow housing questions at World Pork Expo

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Farm Forum

Pipestone, Minn. – If you’re thinking about making the change to group sow housing, you probably have a lot of questions. Bring your questions to World Pork Expo and meet one-on-one with other pork producers who have transitioned to group pens for sows.

Three U.S. pork producers will be available from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, June 9, in the Nedap U.S. booth, V525, to talk with fellow producers. These three individuals own or manage facilities that have transitioned from gestation stalls to group gestation pens with electronic sow feeding systems. They will be on hand to answer questions about managing sow hierarchies, training gilts, incorporating software systems and more.

Jayce Mountain Pork

Walter Laut and his team populated a start-up farrowing facility with group gestation pens in the summer of 2015. Jayce Mountain Pork near Fredericktown, Mo. is home to 3,500 sows and farrows about 175 sows per week.

“When I talk to guys who are looking at group housing options, I hear them asking the same questions I had before we transitioned,” says Laut, who is a co-owner of Jayce Mountain Pork. “Our transition has been a good experience, although it was not without challenges. We made this transition because we are trying to keep up with technology and improve our system every day while maintaining our family farm values and standards. We look forward to sharing what we’ve learned.”

Sows at Jayce Mountain Pork are divided by parities in groups of as many as 275 sows per gestation pen. Each group pen includes six electronic sow feeders, an automated separation unit, an enclosed boar pen for heat detection and bunkers where groups of about 10 sows can rest comfortably.

Gilts are brought into isolation for four weeks before they move to the gilt-development unit. Before breeding, they are trained for two weeks to use the electronic feeding system.

Thomas Livestock

Tim Friedel and Steve Horton are the production manager and sow service manager at Thomas Livestock of Broken Bow, Neb. The 5,500 group-housed sows in Thomas Livestock’s Georgetown facility are averaging 36 pigs per sow per year. The Georgetown facility has 22 full-time employees helping sows to farrow around the clock, seven days a week.

“After our first experience, we are confident with the group gestation pens and electronic sow feeding equipment,” Friedel says, “We feel the experience we gained can help others work through changes in their operations.”

Stop by the Nedap booth, V525 on Thursday, June 9 from 1 to 3 p.m. to get your group housing questions answered. Pork producers unable to attend World Pork Expo can email group housing questions to Brad Carson, brad.carson@nedap.com.

For more information on swine housing and management or to learn more about Nedap technologies visit www.nedap.com/sowmanagement, contact Brad Carson, Nedap U.S. swine equipment sales manager at 712-435-7546 or email brad.carson@Nedap.com.