Impact of Gestation Housing System on Weaned Pig Production Cost
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Construction and operating costs for two gestation housing systems—1) individual gestation stalls in a mechanically ventilated confinement building with slatted floor and 2) group pens with individual feed stalls in deepbedded naturally ventilated hoop barns and their impact on cost per weaned pig produced were compared. Iowa 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. 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 with pigs from individual stall gestation systems. When the observed increase 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 11% 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.