Impact of Gestation Housing System on Weaned Pig Production Cost
Construction and operating costs for two gestation housing systems were compared to assess their impact on cost per weaned pig produced. The systems compared were: 1) individual gestation stalls in a mechanically ventilated confinement building with slatted floor and 2) group pens with individual feed stalls in deep‐bedded naturally ventilated hoop barns. Previous work has shown that reproductive performance of group‐housed sows in hoop barns is equal to individually stalled sows, and for some measures, may be improved. Hoop barn gestation facilities can be constructed for 70% of the cost of typical confinement facilities with gestation stalls. Fuel and electricity use in mechanically ventilated gestation buildings is more than utility use in hoop barns, although bedding costs only occur in hoop barns. Assuming equal prolificacy, feed cost per pig weaned is 7% more for sows gestated in hoop barns, but total cost per pig weaned is 3% less for pigs produced by sows gestated as groups in hoop barns compared to pigs from individual stall gestation systems. When the reported increase (0.7 pigs/litter) in live pigs born for litters following hoop gestation was included in the cost analysis, the group housing in hoop barns for gestation resulted in a weaned pig cost that was 10% less than the cost of a weaned pig from the individual stall confinement system. In the upper Midwest United States, group housing of gestation sows in deep‐bedded hoop barns may produce pigs at a lower cost than individual gestation stalls in confinement facilities if the bedded group housing system is managed optimally.
This article is from Applied Engineering in Agriculture 24, no. 2 (2008): 245–249. Posted with permission.