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Blog posts of '2013' 'August'

Prestage Selects Stanchions for Remodel Project

When Bryan Foods announced their decision to close the state’s only slaughter plant, Prestage Farms in Mississippi changed the structure of their existing operation. Part of the complex was converted to breeding stock production to supply gilts to other company farms. In addition, Prestage launched a unique plan in 2012 to convert some of the existing finishing sites to breeding, gestation and farrowing.

Russ Goss, Production Manager along with Todd Griffin, the operation’s Maintenance Manager gave us the details of the conversion.

The original finishing sites consist of eight, 40’ x 176’8” buildings designed  to hold 880 head of market hogs.

site drawing PUB file (800x566) (2)

First part of the plan consisted of creating a dedicated breeding site at one former finishing site. One of the buildings was left unchanged and used as an isolation unit, with only the original 30″ penning swapped out for 40″ high gestation gates.  The other seven buildings were switched over to breeding with each holding 336 stalls. The sows remain in the stalls for 42 days after breeding. After preg-checking, the sows are trucked to one of the converted gestation/farrowing sites. The gestation and farrowing sites were retrofitted using four of the buildings as farrowing and four as gestation. Each gestation barn is sized to fill two of the farrowing buildings.

The gestation floor plan lays out 20) 15’10” wide x 18’6” deep pens with 24) gestation stalls located on one end. . Each pen is designed to hold 14 sows allowing for 21 square foot per animal. Each pen has five feeding stanchions located along the center alley and ten on the outside wall.

PRESTAGE MISSISSIPPI single) (2)-1_edited-1

stanchion sows eating (800x533)

Adjustable feed drops drop the rations into the stainless steel trough below.

When we asked Russ about the decision to go with pen system versus stalls, he explained, “We feel stanchions are the best choice for group housing compared to the ESF options that we looked at. We think stanchions are easier for our staff to manage and there is less equipment to maintain and repair.”

Russ commented, “The sows adapt to the stanchions fairly well. There’s some fighting the first day we put them together, but they settle down after that. Without a doubt group housing requires a higher level of stockmanship from our people, but the farm staff has learned to manage the system without a lot of trouble.”

farrowing crates (800x521)

Crews removed the old slats and equipment, after opening up a section of the end wall. Supported by the existing slat walls, trussed TriDek flooring spans the entire building with traction brakes located in the center of the crate providing the sows with better footing. Four rows of 33 farrowing crates were installed on the flooring for a total capacity of 132.

Prestage selected a 5’x 7’ Advantage finger style crate with stainless steel rear door panels and SowMAX dispensers above the feeders. Four feed lines run the length of the building to fill the dispensers.

sow max closeup (683x1024)Russ explained Prestage’s previous experience with SowMAX, “We just do a better job feeding sows in lactation with the SowMAX. It eliminates any guess work; we just fill the hoppers twice a day and the sows eat to appetite. They can eat at night during hot weather, and we know they are getting all the feed they want even on the weekends.”

He continued “Improved sow body condition is one of the biggest benefits we get from using SowMAX. Almost all of our sows will score a two or three coming out of the crates”

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Factors Impacting Feed Conversion

Here’s a thought provoking list of 20 factors that effect feed conversion in swine production.  We pulled this information 0ut of Jim Long’s Pork Commentary on Dec 17th which he cited Vern Pearson PhD and Mariela Lachman PhD.   As Jim noted with the cost of feed rising so dramatically, effectively utilization of rations has never been more important.  Number one on the list?…… feed wastage.

Hog Slat manufacturers feeders that have been proven to save feed for over 25 years.  Hog Slat dry feeders are the industry’s standard in finishing and nurseries barns, our wet/dry and round fiberglass feeder are additional options and we continue to pioneer sow feeding in breeding and farrowing with SowMAX.

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An Improved Rodent Bait Rotation

Bait rotation is an important strategy for effective control of rodents in livestock and poultry buildings.  Continued use of one active ingredient or bait type may increase the risk for potential resistance problems.  Rodent populations may also prefer the flavor or texture of one type of bait.

Liphatech’s recent introduction of the new soft bait Revolver gives producers even more choices in their bait rotation program.

FastDraw and Hombre both contain the same active ingredient, Difethlalone.  FastDraw is a soft bait and Hombre is available as a mini block or place pak. Revolver and Boot Hill are formulation with the same active ingredient, Bromadiolone.  Revolver is the soft bait version and Boot Hill comes in either a mini block or pellet place pack.

New Bait Rotation_edited-1


Now producers can add another element, texture into their bait rotations.  Note the double orange arrows in the rotation diagram illustrating the possible choices.  For example if the first bait used was FastDraw the next choice in the rotation could be either Revolver (soft bait) or Boot Hill (mini blocks) as they both contain a differen active ingredient Bromadiolone.  If Boot Hill was selected the next step in the rotation back to Difethlalone could be either FastDraw (soft bait) or Hombre (mini blocks).

Also note on the diagram the rodenticide Gunslinger highlighted with the blue circle.  We highly recommend Gunslinger be inserted into any bait rotation at clean out as it most effective when animals aren’t present and feed sources can be removed. Gunslinger contains a completely different active ingredient, Bromethalin and its “knockdown” on rodent populations is impressive.

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Extended Anchor Bearing

As animal and poultry housing became larger and we develop more sophisticated feeding methods, the use of multiple bins in tandem became common.  While this set-up allowed for greater flexibility in feeding, the front bin of the pair was prone to plugging.

If we look at the anchor bearing that is present in the rear bin, we would notice that it has a restrictor tube over the shaft.  This restrictor tube fills core of the flex auger and prevents feed from filling up the core and overloading the auger.

This restrictor is not present in the front bin.  When the slide is opened feed overloads the system faster than the auger will move it away.  The obvious solution is to cut the opening down by closing off the slide to restrict feed flow.  This can cause other problems as a feed flows tends to flow only down one side of the bin.  A better solution is to use baffles in the boot to restrict feed flow.  This works to prevent plugging but can cause feed bridging in the bin. 

Over the last several years Hog Slat developed and tested a unique solution to this problem.  The final product is called the Extended Anchor Bearing.


Described simply, the Extended Anchor Bearing extends the rear tube restrictor to the front bin.  The auger core is filled in and feed cannot overfill the system.

The Extended Anchor Bearing ships complete with a 14’ restrictor tube, replacement bearing and fastening hardware.  The 14’ restrictor tube is cut to length and inserted it the auger core.  The new bearing is installed and the auger reattached.

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