2020 Iowa Pork Congress seminar puts focus on increasing equipment life.
2020 Iowa Pork Congress seminar puts focus on increasing equipment life.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s another selection from the 1960 edition of The Yearbook of Agriculture on the latest trends in farrowing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Another successful show is in the books for Hog Slat at the 2015 World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. This year, Hog Slat displayed several new items, including our AirStorm fiberglass ventilation fans, Grow-Disk™ chain disk feed system and the GrowerSELECT® curtain machine. In addition to these new products, we also featured our concrete slats, TriDek flooring, group pen feed stanchions, GrowerSELECT sow drops and more.
Hog Slat hosted a group of Chinese pig farmers that were visiting the United States and attended the World Pork Expo. On Tuesday, as part of their trip, we visited a brand new 2 barn finishing site Hog Slat just completed, located in Lohrville, IA. The group was able to see a new group of pigs that had just been loaded into one of the barns earlier that afternoon, and also examine the inside of the other barn that had not been loaded with pigs yet.
Both of these deep pit barns were equipped with GrowerSELECT Grow-Flex™ feed systems, Hog Slat wet/dry hog feeders and AquaChief cup waterers as part of their equipment package. The group was very impressed with the fit and finish of Hog Slat’s feed system equipment and building construction. To learn more about new construction or remodeling hog barns in the Midwest or other areas of the United States, please visit the Hog Slat sales representative locator, found here.