Impact of housing environment and management on pre-/post-weaning piglet productivity

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Condotta, Isabella C. F. S.
Leonard, Suzanne M.
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Oxford University Press
Ramirez, Brett
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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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The complex environment surrounding young pigs reared in intensive housing systems directly influences their productivity and livelihood. Much of the seminal literature utilized housing and husbandry practices that have since drastically evolved through advances in genetic potential, nutrition, health, and technology. This review focuses on the environmental interaction and responses of pigs during the first 8 wk of life, separated into pre-weaning (creep areas) and post-weaning (nursery or wean-finish) phases. Further, a perspective on instrumentation and precision technologies for animal-based (physiological and behavioral) and environmental measures documents current approaches and future possibilities. A warm microclimate for piglets during the early days of life, especially the first 12 h, is critical. While caretaker interventions can mitigate the extent of hypothermia, low birth weight remains a dominant risk factor for mortality. Post-weaning, the thermoregulation capabilities have improved, but subsequent transportation, nutritional, and social stressors enhance the requisite need for a warm, low draft environment with the proper flooring. A better understanding of the individual environmental factors that affect young pigs as well as the creation of comprehensive environment indices or improved, non-contact sensing technology is needed to better evaluate and manage piglet environments. Such enhanced understanding and evaluation of pig–environment interaction could lead to innovative environmental control and husbandry interventions to foster healthy and productive pigs.
This is the version of record for the article Ramirez, Brett C., Morgan D. Hayes, Isabella CFS Condotta, and Suzanne M. Leonard. "Impact of housing environment and management on pre-/post-weaning piglet productivity." Journal of Animal Science 100, no. 6 (2022): skac142. Available online at DOI: 10.1093/jas/skac142. Copyright 2022 The Author(s). Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Posted with permission.