With the majority of U.S. pigs finished in confinement style facilities, a 12-pound weaned pig will spend at least four months on slatted concrete floors. As the industry moves from gestation stalls to group housing designs, slat quality becomes an important factor. Rather than being confined to a small slatted area, sow movement over an entire slatted pen subjects them potential injury from defective flooring design.
Good concrete slat design, construction, and maintenance can minimize foot and leg problems associated with swine production.
The most critical feature in slat design is producing slats with a flat top surface. Slats with uneven and inconsistent surface place additional stress on pig’s feet and joints.
Many methods used for producing concrete slats consist of placing wet cast concrete into multiple steel forms and hand troweling to finish. It is harder to build slats with a consistently flat surface by hand finishing methods.
Machined slats are produced with a different process that eliminates the uneven surface found on hand cast slats. Automated Rotoscreeds “strike off” the mold creating a level, uniformly flat top that is easier for pigs to move across.
Slat longevity is an important consideration as worn or damaged areas create uneven surfaces that can injure pigs. Slats built using concrete with a low water-to-cement ratio are longer lasting and more resistant to wear.
The water-cement ratio refers to the ratio of the water weight to the cement weight used in a concrete mix. A lower ratio leads to higher strength and durability but makes the mix difficult to work with and form. For this reason, most slats are produced with wet cast concrete using a water-cement ratio of 0.5. Machined slats are manufactured from dry cast concrete with a water-cement ratio of less than .39.
A cubic yard of wet cast concrete formulated with 500 pounds of cement contains 250 pounds of water, while a dry cast mix only contains 195 pounds. As the excess water leaves during the curing process, it creates microscopic pores that reduce the final strength of a slat. Compromised slat strength can lead to many problems down the road, including expensive repairs, equipment damage and injury to pigs and farm personnel.
Maintaining surfaces and edges of slats, as they wear over time, is essential in providing pigs with a comfortable flooring surface. Areas around waterers and feeders are the first to show significant damage. When the need arises for concrete slat repair, choose a repair mortar designed for slat repair versus generic concrete repair products. Mortars designed for slat repairs feature cement and epoxy formulations with higher cure strengths and faster cure times. The amount of damage will determine the type of repair product needed. For simple repairs, less than 1/4″ in depth, a cost effective cement mortar can be used. More severe corrosion requires the use of epoxy mortars to hold the repair patch in place. Hog Slat offers a complete range of concrete repair products from Vanberg Specialized Coatings that can be used to repair worn and damaged slats with minimal downtime. For more information on slat repairs see the DIY video at http://www.hogslat.com/con-korite-xtra-mortar-kit.
Choosing concrete slats with a level surface and uniform openings provide growing pigs and group housed sows with secure footing to minimize foot and joint injuries.
To learn more about Hog Slat’s machine produced slats go to http://www.hogslat.com/concrete-slats.
New video showing how to mix and apply Con-Korite. Con-Korite is our best selling product for repairing severely worn and damaged slats. Featuring Pure Concrete technology, it simply lasts longer than other repair mortars. It comes as a complete kit (Con-Korite Xtra Mortar Kit) or as a 55 lb. pail ( Con-Korite). Pick one up at your local Hog Slat store or order online at www.hogslat.com
Joining Hog Slat in our booth this year at EuroTier was Paul Vanberg and his son Matt from Vanberg Specialized Coatings. Vanberg Coatings products are recognized in the U.S. industry as the premier repair and protection products for both concrete and metal.
The concrete product line includes:
Con-Korite. Our “go to” for repairing broken slat edges and restoring corroded slats. (see more…..)
Eco-Crete. Good choice for routine repair on all concrete surfaces. (see more…..)
Armor-Rock. The tough stuff! Use around feeders and waterers to protect slats from aggressive chemicals and pig traffic (see more…..)
Metal repair products include:
EM-15 Epoxy Mastic: Used for interior repairs on metal ceilings and walls. (see more…..)
AMC-100 Coating: Exterior use on roofs and feed Bins. (see more…..)
Paul commented, “This was Vanberg Coatings first exposure to a world-wide audience. I’ll tell you one thing all livestock and poultry producers have in common,”
“They are pretty tired of using products that have not worked!”
“We introduced products used successfully for years in the U.S. to a whole new group of producers. Working with Hog Slat makes our products available in Europe, China and Latin America.”
It’s not news to pork producers that hogs are hard on equipment. Just normal wear and tear will damage even the stoutest equipment.
One tough repair is a loose anchor bolt in concrete walls or floors. Whether it’s a wall bracket, divider panel or gestation stall leg, they can all work loose with the constant “banging” from large hogs. This not an easy repair; typically the anchor has to be removed and the hole drilled either larger or deeper to hold a new stud.
The new EPO-SET 400 makes this repair much easier.
EPO-SET 400 is a two-part polymer especially formulated for repairing loose anchor bolt studs. Simply clean the loose debris out of the hole around the anchor. Place the mixture into the void and it sets up in ten minutes with full strength in two hours.
EPO-SET is easy to use because of the unique dual cartridge system for use in a standard caulking gun.
The standard sized tube contains two separate chambers that mix inside the static mixing nozzle. No need to buy an expensive two-tube caulking gun or mix the two parts in a tray before using. Just squeeze the handle and the blended mixture comes out the nozzle. Makes it easy to direct into holes and cracks in concrete.
You can watch our video at http://hogslat.com/epo-set-400 to learn more.
While at Dustin Anderson’s site last week reviewing his sort barn conversion, one thing quickly drew my attention. When the barn was constructed, the builder installed plastic slat mats which are considered “best practice” in our industry. Look at the result 6 years later.
All the plastic slat mat did was move the problem out 12 inches! Now, this is not terrible slat wear for six years of usage, but it will get worst. A bigger mat could be placed under the feeder, but this would just move the problem out a little more. The best solution to this problem isn’t a mat at all. The ultimate slat saver comes in a bucket! Hog Slat offers a product called Armor-Rock. Armor-Rock is a two part epoxy with blended aggregates that form a wear and chemical resistant coating to protects the slat’s surface. The liquid epoxy mixture is applied to the slat’s surface and then sand is broadcast on top to create a non-slip surface.
A huge advantage to using the Armor-Rock is it doesn’t cover the slat openings around the feeders. Urine, water and feed wastes fall through because the normal slat opening remains intact. Corrosive wastes are not collecting and just getting moved farther out on the slats, which is the problem with conventional slat mats.
There is one slight disadvantage to using Armor-Rock over standard plastic slat mats. It’s not the cost of the material; if Armor-Rock is purchased in bulk the price is virtually the same. The key issue is the time it takes to install it under a feeder. When mats are used they are placed under the feeders, the gating is installed, and the installation is complete. With Armor-Rock, the feeders and gating are completely installed and then the feeders must be removed. The epoxy is mixed, placed on the flooring and allowed to dry. After the Armor-Rock cures, the feeders are replaced in the gating. Because of the extra labor the Armor-Rock option is not offered by most contractors.
The choice is yours to make. Chose the Ultimate Slat Saver with Armor-Rock and do it once or chose standard slat mats and fix it later. You can pick up Armor-Rock at any Hog Slat store or purchase it on line at http://hogslat.com/armor-rock-kit