The fifth presentation we are sharing is from Dr. Jeremy Pittman from Smithfield’s, NC. In the context of increased sow mortality, Dr. Pittman spent a lot of time investigating the root causes of this change and he shares his experience in this talk.
To listen to this talk, please click on the picture below.
This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.
This week, we are sharing a project from Dr. Jim Lowe at the University of Illinois.
“What is the range of locations of sows that enter a slaughter plant?, How many stops along the way do they make? and How long do they remain the slaughter channel?” These are the questions this project is planning to answer.
Little is known about the cull market, how culls are transported, and how they play a role in disease spread.
While most sows travel directly to slaughter, an important percentage most likely move through multiple collection points.
Cull sow movement are important for understanding disease transport related epidemiology.
Premise ID tags were collected during an entire week at a cull harvest plant. Animals originated from 297 unique source farms, located in 21 US states and Canada.
Results are shown in the histogram on the left.
The majority of culls (86%) originate less than 240km from the final collection point. This interaction is deemed to be a primary interaction, meaning that it is very likely the culls moved direct from the farm of origin to the final collection point. 14% of the culls travel a distance greater than 240km to the terminal collection point. Of these 14%, 17.7% or 2.5% of all culls, traveled 5 times as far to the last point of collection from the farm than they did from collection point to plant.
The University of Minnesota – Morris owns a swine research facility which provides an excellent set up to study the behavior of sows housed in groups. In the past few years, swine producers have committed to change the conditions in which the sows are housed in farms and to keep them in groups where they can interact with each other instead of housing them individually. Putting sows in group reminded us that pigs need a hierarchy and that they will compete and fight to establish it. Because space allowance can impact sows behavior we wondered what the optimum floor space is.
Determining floor space allowance for gestating sows can be controversial because more floor space allowance means low output per square footage of the barn and will potentially reduce profitability for producers. On the other hand, floor space allowance less than sow requirement can compromise sow welfare and performance. To answer the question in the title of this article, we conducted a two-year project (titled ‘Determining the Minimal Floor Space Allowance for Gestating Sows Kept in Pens with Electronic Sow Feeders’). The project was partially sponsored by the National Pork Board, and the research team includes Yuzhi Li and Lee Johnston from the WCROC in Morris, and Sam Baidoo from the SCROC (Southern Research and Outreach Center) in Waseca.[…]