The size of individual sow farms continues to increase; just a few years ago 2,400 head units were considered large, but new sow farms under construction this year range between 5,000 to 14,000 head in size.
Designing the central production facility into two or three larger buildings has many advantages including smaller land requirements, less underground utilities to bring to the site, shorter roadways to build and maintain, fewer walkways between buildings and less linear footage of exterior building walls.
Because of increased pig capacities and the desire to minimize the number of buildings, it was necessary to increase the buildings widths up to 190 feet. Instead of the 4/12-pitch roof used on standard farm buildings, these jumbo-wide facilities utilize a two-piece rafter with a 1/12-pitch roof line resting on a center support wall in the middle. Almost 6 feet high at the heel with a center height of 13 feet, the rafters are designed more like a large floor joist. The outside appearance resembles a steel frame building more than conventional wood framed structures.
Totally slatted flooring is a common feature of newly constructed B&G buildings. While past layouts consisted of a solid laying area with slat sections in the rear of the pen or stall only, new construction plans incorporate slats over the entire floor with stainless feeding troughs fastened in place. This arrangement allows long-term flexibility to reconfigure the pen layout in the future if needed.
Group housing with stanchions is the predominant type of housing under construction this year. Largely through trial and error, the industry seems to have settled into pen configurations containing eight to twelve sows. This pen size permits closer grouping by size and condition and promotes easier visual inspection.
Whether the production system chooses gestation stalls, stanchions, or ESF, most equipment is specified with hot-dipped galvanized equipment instead of painted finish. The extended equipment life provided by the galvanized finish makes this an economical business decision.
One advantage reported with stanchion systems is longer equipment life resulting from moving the water away from the front of the stanchions. Locating a cup or swinging water pipe with nipples in the center of the pen reduces the deterioration of feed pipes and stall fronts by minimizing water contact with these areas.
Jumbo style layouts permit designing a double farrowing building with an extra wide 8-foot center alleyway to aid in animal and people movement between rooms.
Almost every new construction project increases the length and width of the farrowing crates and creep area from the standard 5′ x 7′ footprint up to 6’ wide by 8′ long, with some systems choosing 8’6″ long crates. Longer framed sows and reduced piglet crushing rates from using wider pens have driven this trend. Again, the equipment will have a galvanized finish with a combination of cast iron, TriDek, or plastic slats for flooring choices.
Most production systems will incorporate some provision for ad-lib sow feeding. Besides reducing farm labor, ad-lib sow feeding is the most efficient method for feeding individual sows to reach full milk production potential. The type of systems can range from electronic transponder metering devices to sow activated hopper type feed dispensers.
Projects of this size require builders with an expanded skill set. A builder must be able to provide professional project management, understanding of regulatory issues, and increased insurance coverage. It is also critical for any construction firm undertaking projects of this size to have sufficient financial backing and the ability to manage large cash flows.
For more information about Hog Slat’s construction projects and swine production equipment offerings, contact your nearest sales representative by clicking here.
Management expert Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” We believe this is particularly true when it comes to developing, improving and testing ventilation fans.
Hog Slat’s AirStorm and Windstorm ventilation fans are designed and tested using an Airflow Performance Test Chamber, or as it more commonly known, a Wind Tunnel. Measuring 10′ x 10′ x 28′ long, the Wind Tunnel was constructed according to AMCA standard 210 and installed at the Clinton, NC facility in May 2015.
Fans to be tested are fixed in place on one end of the Wind Tunnel.
A 48″ axial vane fan, powered by a 20 hp motor, located on the opposite end of the tunnel, forces air into the chamber.
After passing through a series of mesh straighteners, the air is then forced through a nozzle wall consisting of metal cones that can be opened and closed to change available square inches of space.
Two devices, called Differential Pressure Transmitters, measure and record the static pressure differential on each side of the nozzle wall. To maintain precise accuracy, the transmitters are calibrated monthly and are also returned to the manufacturer for a factory re-calibration once per year.
One of the key features of Hog Slat’s test chamber is the automated recording system that records data without any manual input from an operator. The Wind Tunnel is ramped up from zero to maximum static pressure while up to two data points per second are recorded in real time. This automated recording system is a custom program developed by a team from Hog Slat’s engineering group. This allows Wind Tunnel technician, Matt Parker, to supply the engineering group with a complete fan performance graph instead of limiting the information to only a few selected data points.
Lead engineer for ventilation products, Tyler Marion explains; “Having a Wind Tunnel in-house allows us to quickly break down a fan by critical components and test multiple variables quickly. We are able to test different motor/fan combinations, shutter designs, and cone styles to constantly improve the fans Hog Slat delivers to our customers.”
Hog Slat’s Wind Tunnel is not only used for fan testing and development, it also serves as a Quality Control check on products received from suppliers. The photo above shows a galvanized prop mounted in standard fan ring. In this case, the initial run of product from the vendor is being checked against the approved sample. This testing continues for each production run to ensure the same performance levels from lot to lot. QC checks are also run for completed fans pulled from inventory and checked against published standards for airflow, CFM/watt and motor amperage.
A new addition to our fan testing equipment is the device called a Thrust Tester. The Thrust Tester measures the amount of thrust (lbf or pounds of force) a stir or circulation fan develops. It also measures the thrust efficiency ratio of a fan by dividing the lbf by kWs used. Although the Thrust Test is a stand-alone unit, it is tied into the Wind Tunnel transmitters to record the data. Matt also records centerline velocity at distances five times the prop diameter.
To see more on Hog Slat’s complete line of AirStorm fiberglass and Windstorm galvanized ventilation fans go to www.hogslat.com or call 800-949-4647.
How can we make the claim of selling the strongest, heaviest feed bins on the market at the best possible price to swine and poultry growers?
Simple. Our direct distribution system eliminates the additional markup that dealers have to add to the bin’s price. Instead, that money goes back into building a stronger bin manufactured from heavier steel. These longer lasting bins are built with 5-10% more steel, by weight, than competitive brands.
Compare the features.
Most manufacturers only use 50,000 psi structural steel for the bin sheets and legs to reduce costs. Hog Slat bins are constructed entirely of GRADE 55 structural steel. The bin sheets, legs, roof sheets, bottom cone sheets…the entire bin.
The bottom cone sheets of a bin are subjected to extra abuse from hammers and mallets used to dislodge bridging feed. That’s why we used thicker steel to resist dings and dents.
We build the bin collar out of heavier 10 gauge steel to eliminate having to add additional reinforcing collars. The collar is stamped to reduce variations in dimensions compared to rolled or spun collars.
Every Hog Slat / Georgia Poultry bin is manufactured in-house for complete control of raw material purchasing and manufacturing operations. Our facility includes state-of-art rolling, stamping and finishing machinery to ensure precise fit and finish.
When it comes down to it, the cost of manufacturing a high-quality product is the same for most companies producing equipment for the livestock and poultry markets. Most companies have identified the most efficient methods to build an anchor bearing, motor, feeder, nipple waterers, etc.
The real cost difference comes from the delivery of those products to the end user. The standard model of distribution, in our industry, involves a manufacturer producing a product line, warehousing it, and employing a sales force to establish a dealer network.
The dealer network stocks the equipment, maintains a storefront, hires salespeople, installs, and services the production systems in a local area for the brand of equipment they represent.
This particular type of distribution model has changed very little over the history of the livestock and poultry production industries. Each member of this distribution model is an independent business entity and is free to add whatever margins they deem necessary (or possible) to the final cost a producer pays.
Sold through a different type of distribution model, GrowerSELECT goes directly to livestock and poultry growers through our network of regional local stores. Because we own the distribution chain from top to bottom, we add only ONE MARKUP over our cost.
Our cost is based on finished goods plus ONE MARKUP vs. MULTIPLE MARKUPS from the typical distribution model.
Also, we would suggest that we are the low-cost producer for most products. Wait a minute; the first paragraph said the cost of manufacturing was the same for everyone.
True. But if a brand has a loyal dealer network, the pricing to the dealer network will not be challenged. A loyal dealer will continue to buy brand name products even if the cost is excessive.
Name brand motors are a perfect example of this. An auger or fan company buys a motor from a motor manufacturer, puts their logo on it and sells it to a local supplier. The local supplier sells the motor to the end user adding little value to the final price. A local supplier has few other options. Their volume of a particular motor isn’t high enough to go directly to a motor manufacturer, and they have little negotiating power with their chosen brand vendor. The brand company has little incentive to lower the cost to a loyal dealer network. In fact, a brand company can charge different prices in different geographical locations depending on market pressure.
Compare this with GrowerSELECT motors. Our network of over 70 store locations and turnkey construction business allows for large purchases of motors direct from a manufacturer. We forecast purchase amounts for each store location and ship directly with minimal warehousing cost. Local retail pricing continually drives us to buy at a more competitive price.
The conventional distribution chain is directed from the TOP DOWN versus the GrowerSELECT model which is driven from the BOTTOM UP. Lower pricing for comparable products is the result.
The GrowerSELECT distribution model also affects product responsibility. Because we interact directly with the end users, we deal directly with any problems arising with the installed products. We sell it; we service it, and the end user works with one company.
The traditional marketing chain allows room for some question regarding who is responsible for dealing with equipment failures when those problems arise. The manufacturer can blame poor installation, dealer system design, or a number of other reasons (excuses) for a product’s failure. A local supplier can blame the brand company for poor design or manufacturing flaws. The GrowerSELECT distribution system eliminates “finger pointing” and focuses on providing accountability to each and every customer.
Our customers produce commodities. The lowest cost commodity producer is always the most successful. Our mission is to provide our customers long term value at the lowest possible cost.
Ask yourself this question; “Are all the manufacturers, distributors, dealers, installers, and service personnel creating ADDED VALUE in the distribution chain I buy from?” If you hesitated while answering that question, take the next step by changing the way you buy and implementing GrowerSELECT equipment into your operation.
To contact a sales representative in your area or find our nearest locations to you, click here.
Hog Slat will be exhibiting at this year’s World Pork Expo with many new and further developed swine equipment products, highlighting Hog Slat’s GrowerSELECT product line.
At the show, Hog Slat will have a large variety of equipment on display in both the exhibition hall (Booth V165 VIB) and at the Hog Slat hospitality tent (Tent G234). Equipment that will be on display includes Hog Slat’s Grow-Flex Feed System, Grow-Disk Feed System, Slats, and an introduction to Hog Slat’s AirStorm fans. We invite you to stop by the Hog Slat booth to see what’s new at the show.
Enjoy FREE ADMISSION to the 2015 World Pork Expo, courtesy of Hog Slat. You may redeem your admission voucher by registering online at www.worldpork.org by May 28th and use voucher code HogSlat2015. Or, present a hard copy of our voucher (available through the Hog Biz, local Hog Slat retail stores, or your local sales contact) during on-site registration the day of the expo. Expo registration is located in the Animal Learning Center inside Gate 15.
Craving some good BBQ? Stop by the Hog Slat hospitality tent anytime during expo to enjoy Vinny’s BBQ, located in Dakota City, IA. Vinny’s will be serving lunch and dinner both Wednesday and Thursday of the expo.
The World Pork Expo is held June 3rd-5th in Des Moines, IA at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Visit us at the show in booth V165 in the Varied Industries Building and Hospitality Tent G234. We hope to see you at the show!