I have been around Hog Slat for some 22 years now. In my opinion, one of Hog Slat’s biggest strengths comes from the company’s ability to take its proven equipment designs and adapt to local production methods.
Hog Slat introduced the concept of total slatted, curtain-sided finishing barns to the Midwest during the late 80’s. Hog Slat quickly changed the ventilation, manure handling and building materials to match local conditions, but the basic concept remained the same. This style of finishing building changed the way pigs were finished in the Midwest resulting in improved pig performance and increased profitability.
A similar situation is developing in Europe with Hog Slat.
Hog Slat’s display at EuroTier showcased a new line of steel equipment tailored to the European swine market. It’s a different type of equipment than you would see Hog Slat display at the World Pork Expo.
The first thing that comes to eye is the hot-dipped galvanized finish vs. the painted finish most common in the U.S. market. Interior space is more confined, and the building layouts reflect in equipment design. And of course EU regulations are followed regarding square footage allowed, penning and flooring design.
The Breeding stall features a split “saloon-style” back door. The split gate allows the operator to enter the stall while the closed section prevents the sow from backing out.
The gate is designed to operated with only one hand allowing the technician to carry a preg-checker or AI equipment in the other.
Watch a short Video of the saloon doors
European concrete slats tend to have less open area than slats in the U.S. due to welfare regulations. Stainless steel legs rotate to allow placement of an anchor in a slat opening. A set bolt is tightened to secure the leg to the stall side. Three top and four front bars attached to the stall sides with clamps, making it easier to get a straight installation without drilling or welding.
The stainless steel feed trough will outlast composite or concrete troughs. Because sows can lie with their heads under the raised trough, the overall length can be reduced to 1.8 meters and still meet EU regulations requiring a stall to be 2 meters long.
A typical pen layout will have farrowing stalls facing out against the room walls with only a center alleyway.
The combination feed and water trough is raised to allow the sow more effective stall length. Many producers choose to install the SowMAX (read more…..) and fill with an automatic auger or chain disk system as hand feeding is difficult without a front feeding alley.
To load the crates the rear creep panel is opened, the rear gate unfastened and the movable side panel is slid to its open position. After the sow moves into stall, the operator adjusts the movable side to the size of the sow and selects one of the holes in the rear gate to hold it in place. The operator then adjusts the bottom bow bar for large or small sows. The bow bars also include anti-crushing bars to reduce pig mortality.
Hog Slat displayed its plastic flooring and with interlocking cast center sections for farrowing. Optional types of flooring sections, including red heating sections, allow producers to design a custom floor. Creep areas are larger than typically used in the U.S. The EuroTier floor measured 1.8 meters (5.9′) wide by 2.4 meters (7.87′) long.
Hog Slat also featured traditional style European penning with PVC planking on the bottom and galvanized pipes fastened to formed stainless steel posts. Notice the plastic fasteners at the end of the pipes, after the pipes are cut to length the plastic ends are forced onto the pipe and bolted into place. U.S. style horizontal penning is also finding some favor with some European producers as it is more cost effective and allows for better ventilation.
Going forward, you will see a constant blend of American and European concepts reflected in the equipment Hog Slat builds for Europe. Hog Slat’s manufacturing, sourcing and distribution expertise will lower the final cost to the producers without sacrificing quality.
U.S. concepts in ventilation (tunnel), feeding (SowMAX), and finishing equipment (open horizontal penning) will gain acceptance with European producers looking for maximum efficiencies in producing pork.
In an earlier blog post we reported the interest shown in the SowMax (see more….) at this year’s EuroTier. Shown is German sales rep Ulf Maroske as he explains features and benefits to a customer at the show. We later received this email from Ulf concerning a customer who purchased 20 International farrowing crates and 50 SowMAX dispensers to fit on existing crates this October.
“When visited my customer last week the piglets were 14 days old. He placed the sows with the highest piglet losses in the last farrowing in the Hog Slat International crates. He told me had piglet losses of .6 per sow in the new crates compared to 1 piglet per sow in the old crates. This is nice result.”
“When I asked him how satisfied he is with our SowMAX he gave me the short answer. Today he regrets that he installed 50 of them…if he had know the SowMAX worked so well he would have equipped all 90 farrowing crates with them.”
“Compared to his other feeding system he has significantly less feed wastage. Now the sows eat more, the amount is 10kg (22 lbs.), that was not possible before. The sows are much quieter during feeding time”
If you experience an issue with a Grow-Disk Feed System, initial machinery inspection is important. Any troubleshooting exercise should begin with a thorough investigation of the machine, process, design, operation, and system maintenance records. To assist in troubleshooting the Grow-Disk feed system, use the Grow-Disk Troubleshooting Chart.