HOG SLAT BLOG – U.S.

Larger sow farms drive move to larger buildings. 0

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.

Building cross-section comparison

Building cross-section comparison

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.

Breeding/ Gestation

Galvanized gestation stalls

Galvanized gestation stalls

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.

Farrowing

Large pen farrowing crates with SowMAX feeders

Large pen farrowing crates with SowMAX feeders

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.

Swining rafters on new farrowing house

Swinging rafters on new farrowing house

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.

Hog-O-Matic Finishing Floors 0

Not every labor saving idea for swine confinement lasted much past the initial development phase. From the 1960 Yearbook of Agriculture, we present the HOG-O-MATIC!

Hog-O-Matic

Hog-O-Matic

This automatic hog finishing facility – dubbed “Hog-O-Matic” – is equipped to feed the pigs and clean the floor under fully automatic control. Cleaning is done (below) with two jets of water under 70 pounds of pressure. The revolving boom circles the 21.5- foot exercise area every 2.5 minutes. A 4-inch center drain carries the wastes away.

Hogomatic_2(web)

High-Pressure Water Jets clean pen floor

A good idea in theory for the time, but it is likely this system would not work well with sub-zero temperatures during a typical Midwestern winter.  Here’s a more typical finishing floor from the early confinement years.

old-finishing-house(web)

Reverse mono-slope finishing floors with rear access alley.

Hogs are housed in clean, airy, efficient buildings. The picture above shows one of the many new types of confinement housing during this time period. Raising hogs in confined quarters is a growing practice. The farmer designed this pen arrangement (below) with the plan of finishing two-thousand hogs per year. 

old-finishing-house_2(web)

Labor-saving equipment included automatic watering and feeders filled with an overhead auger.

From these early designs, the industry continued to develop into the improved feeding and ventilation systems we have today. GrowerSELECT feed systems and AirStorm ventilation fans offer today’s producers great equipment backed by the best warranty in the business. To learn more call us at 800-949-4674 or go online at www.hogslat.com.

Interior view of Hog Slat finisher.

Interior view of a modern swine finisher constructed by Hog Slat.

 

 

Welfare friendly farrowing, AdLib feeding…1960 style? 0

Here’s another selection from the 1960 edition of The Yearbook of Agriculture on the latest trends in farrowing.

Welfare friendly farrowing pens circa 1960

Welfare-friendly farrowing pens

 

Caption in yearbook:
In this minimum-stress pen, the shape of the guardrail encourages the sow to lie with the teats toward the pigs. The pigs stay where it’s warm – under the heat lamp and behind the guard.

How about this for Ad Lib feeding? An overhead auger delivers feed to the farrowing pens. No carts or scoops are needed.

Ad Lib feeding from the past

Labor saving feeding from the past.

And finally, double-decker farrowing crates! I saw one of these set up in Red Oak, Iowa years ago.

From the yearbook:
Hogs in double-deck, all steel, cage-type farrowing stalls. The pigs are transferred after weaning. Manure is removed by mechanical drags.

Double-deck-farrowing(web)

Double-decker farrowing crates.

 

Hog Slat manufactures a complete line of farrowing equipment for new construction or remodeling an existing facility. Our SowMAX ad lib dispenser feeds lactating sows 24/7 while reducing farm labor. See more at www.hogslat.com or call 800-949-4647.

Galvanized farrowing crate with SowMAX Ad Lib dispensers.

Galvanized Hog Slat farrowing crates with SowMAX Ad Lib dispensers, Cast/ TriDEK floors, and Poly Lamps

 

Ag Evaporative Cooling Systems Compared – Part 1, Troughs 0

Most commercial broiler farms utilize an evaporative system to provide cooling during hot weather.  Although there is no substitute for regular maintenance and cleaning, choosing the right system can reduce repairs.  We compare several key features of Hog Slat's Evap System against competitive brands.

Most commercial broiler farms utilize an evaporative system to provide cooling during hot weather. Although there is no substitute for regular maintenance and cleaning, choosing the right system can reduce repairs.  In part one, we compare Hog Slat’s trough design and features against competitive brands.

GreaterCapacity-600x300

Hog Slat’s Evap System features a square trough to increase the water reservoir by over 24% when compared to 8″ PVC pipe. This extra capacity allows water draining from the pads to be collected for re-circulation without overflowing. In a typical 80′ system this adds up to 168 gallons compared to only 128 gallons for an 8″ diameter PVC trough.

The trough cover is designed with more inches of open area to permit faster drainage away from the bottom on the pads.  If bottom of the pads remain saturated, they can get soft and in extreme cases sag and fall out of the system.

The Hog Slat trough cover is designed with more inches of open area to permit faster drainage away from the bottom of the pads. If the pad bottoms  remain saturated, they can get soft and in extreme cases sag and fall out of the system.  We show a comparison of  the amount of open area per linear foot of trough.

The most secure method for supporting the trough is to place the bottom directly on a concrete base.  This type of installation eliminates the need for support brackets.  The flat bottom of the Evap System sits directly on a concrete pad without additional supports.  Troughs with round bottoms such as a pipe or U-shaped troughs require the use brackets to hold them on the concrete.  The bottom doesn't sit directly on the concrete, with damage to the trough resulting from the brackets cutting into the plastic.

The most secure method for supporting the trough is to place the bottom directly on a concrete base. This type of installation eliminates the need for support brackets. The flat bottom of the Evap System sits directly on a concrete pad without additional supports.
Troughs with round bottoms such as a pipe or U-shaped troughs require the use brackets to hold them on the concrete. The bottom doesn’t sit directly on the concrete, with damage to the trough resulting from the brackets cutting into the plastic.

For installation requiring brackets, the Evap System design provides better support.  The heavy Bi-Fold bracket is a full four inches wide and spreads the bearing load over a greater area compare to single leg brackets.  The bracket also features two support legs instead of one to prevent twisting.

For installation requiring brackets, the Hog Slat design provides better support. The heavy Bi-Fold bracket is a full four inches wide and spreads the bearing load over a greater area compared to narrow  brackets. The bracket also features two support legs instead of one to prevent twisting.

Hog Slat's wide 4" bracket allows mounting on a 4x4 post when building framing lumber is not available or system is installed away from the building.

Hog Slat’s wide 4″ bracket allows mounting on a 4×4 post when building framing lumber is not available or system is installed away from the building.

Trough repairs are simple and leak free by using two couplers.  Repairs to round bottom trough is time-consuming and often leaks.

Trough repairs are simple and leak free by using two couplers. Repairs to round bottom trough are time-consuming and often results in leaks.

See Part 2, Pad & Fasteners

See Part 3, Pumps & Sumps

Ag Evaporative Cooling Systems Compared – Part 2, Pad and Fasteners 0

Most commercial broiler farms utilize an evaporative system to provide cooling during hot weather.  Although there is no substitute for regular maintenance and cleaning, choosing the right system can reduce repairs.  We compare several key features of Hog Slat's Evap System against competitive brands.

Most commercial broiler farms utilize an evaporative system to provide cooling during hot weather. Although there is no substitute for regular maintenance and cleaning, choosing the right system can reduce repairs. In part 2, we compare pad, distribution and fasteners of Hog Slat’s Evap System against competitive brands.

The Evap System features a large capacity spray bar with more holes per running foot to reduce pad streaking.  Attaching the sections with bell connectors eliminates the dry areas in the pad common with coupled spray bars.

The Evap System features a large capacity spray bar with more holes per running foot to reduce pad streaking. Attaching the sections with bell connectors eliminates the dry areas in the pad common with coupled spray bars.

Pad saturation is enhanced because the top deflector angles the water flow to the outside of the pad.  By directing the water to the outside surface, the water is pulled through the pad wetting the full 6" width.  Designs with the water deposited in the middle of the pad may not utilize the entire pad.

Pad saturation is enhanced because the top deflector angles the water flow to the outside of the pad. By directing the water to the outside surface, the water is pulled through the pad wetting the full 6″ width. Designs with the water deposited in the middle of the pad may not utilize the entire pad.

The Hog Slat system features three robust, easy-to-remove, Tri-Knob nuts with brass inserts to hold each aluminum pad retainer in place.  Each section of the deflector and pad retainer is joined with connector clips to prevent dips or bows in the installation.

The Hog Slat system features three robust, easy-to-remove, Tri-Knob nuts with brass inserts to hold each aluminum pad retainer in place. Each section of the deflector and pad retainer is joined with connector clips to prevent dips or bows in the installation.

Manufactured from heavyweight Saturation Grade Kraft paper for high absorption rate and glued with proprietary resins mixed with additives for fire resistance and fungus protection. H2PAD pad is then triple cured in precisely controlled ovens and cut to exact lengths.  3/4" ProTec edging extends pad life by protecting against UV and mechanical damage.  Additional ProTec coating is available on the pad bottoms to guard against premature damage.

Manufactured from heavyweight Saturation Grade Kraft paper for high absorption rate and glued with proprietary resins mixed with additives for fire resistance and fungus protection. H2PAD pad is then triple cured in precisely controlled ovens and cut to exact lengths. 3/4″ ProTec edging extends pad life by protecting against UV and mechanical damage. Additional ProTec coating is available on the pad bottoms to guard against premature damage.

See Part 1, Troughs

See Part 3, Pumps & Sumps