Effects of Farrowing Stall Layout and Number of Heat Lamps on Sow and Piglet Production Performance

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Leonard, Suzanne
Xin, Hongwei
Brown-Brandl, Tami
Dutta, Somak
Rohrer, Gary
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Ramirez, Brett
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As leaders in statistical research, collaboration, and education, the Department of Statistics at Iowa State University offers students an education like no other. We are committed to our mission of developing and applying statistical methods, and proud of our award-winning students and faculty.
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Most farrowing facilities in the United States use stalls and heat lamps to improve sow and piglet productivity. This study investigated these factors by comparing production outcomes for three different farrowing stall layouts (traditional, expanded creep area, expanded sow area) and use of one or two heat lamps. Data were collected on 427 sows and their litters over one year. Results showed no statistical differences due to experimental treatment for any of the production metrics recorded, excluding percent stillborn. Parity one sows had fewer piglets born alive (p < 0.001), lower percent mortality (p = 0.001) and over-lay (p = 0.003), and a greater number of piglets weaned (p < 0.001) with lower average daily weight gain (ADG) (p < 0.001) and more uniform litters (p = 0.001) as compared to higher parity sows. Farrowing turn, associated with group/seasonal changes, had a significant impact on most of the production metrics measured. Number of piglets born influenced the percent stillborn (p < 0.001). Adjusted litter size had a significant impact on percent mortality (p < 0.001), percent over-lay (p < 0.001), and number of piglets weaned (p < 0.001). As the number of piglets weaned per litter increased, both piglet ADG and litter uniformity decreased (p < 0.001). This information can be used to guide producers in farrowing facility design.


This article is published as Leonard, Suzanne M., Hongwei Xin, Tami M. Brown-Brandl, Brett C. Ramirez, Somak Dutta, and Gary A. Rohrer. "Effects of Farrowing Stall Layout and Number of Heat Lamps on Sow and Piglet Production Performance." Animals 10, no. 2 (2020): 348. DOI: 10.3390/ani10020348.