One-on-one group housing Q & A planned at World Pork Expo
May 18, 2018
PIPESTONE, Minn. – Bring your sow housing questions to World Pork Expo and meet one-on-one with other pork producers. Whether you're thinking about building new or remodeling your existing stall barn into group pens, your peers are ready to share their experiences.
Three U.S. pork producers will be available to answer questions about group housing. They can speak to what to look for in a sow management system to positively impact feed use, labor efficiency, sow behavior and more.
Each of these individuals owns or manages facilities that have transitioned from gestation stalls to group gestation pens with electronic sow feeding systems, automated sow separation and automated heat detection. They have experience in both new buildings and remodeling barns. They will be available from 1 to 3 p.m. on June 6, in the Nedap Livestock Management U.S. booth, V525, at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines.
Tim Friedel and Steve Horton are the production manager and sow service manager at Thomas Livestock Co. of Broken Bow, Neb. Less than 10 years after building a barn, the team at Thomas Livestock pulled the gestation stalls and built group pens with automated sow feeding and management.
"From both the sows' and workers' points-of-view, the barn is a fresher, friendlier place to work. This results in a more productive business for us, and we know it's going to pay for itself in the long run," Friedel said.
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The recent remodeling project is just one part of the plan to convert the entire Thomas Livestock Co. operation to group sow housing. In addition to the remodel, Thomas Livestock has built a new barn with group gestation pens and plans to build another in coming years.
"We have chosen a system that is worker friendly and helps us with identifying and separating animals as needed," Horton said. "The gilts and sows are calmer, quieter and move more easily, which helps us in caring for the animals."
Chet Mogler and his family built a new facility with the primary goal of creating the best environment for their sows. They chose dynamic, large group pens for 4,400 sows to replace their 900-sow stalled barn at their Pig Hill facility near Alvord, Iowa.
"Our sow behavior has totally changed, especially at feeding time," Mogler said. "We never have noisy, high-stress feed drops like we did in stalls. Our sows eat comfortably without competition."
Pork producers unable to attend the event may email questions to Brad Carson at email@example.com.
To learn more, visit nedap-livestockmanagement.com/pig-farming.