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Findings from a survey of finishing-barn management benchmarks with South Dakota pork producers

      ABSTRACT

      Objective

      Our objective was to conduct an external review of management benchmarks for growing/finishing pig barns.

      Materials and Methods

      An external review of 23 finishing barns in South Dakota was conducted to understand the variability of common production practices among finishing barns in the Midwest, compared, where possible, to management benchmarks. The barn survey included quantitative and qualitative measurements, including pig well-being, pig space, feeder pan coverage score and feeder space, water flow and quality, pig floor space, air temperature variation, feed particle size and lysine concentration, and manure composition.

      Results and Discussion

      Eighty-one percent of barns had <0.74 m2/pig, and 62% of barns had less than 0.7 m2/pig. Thirty percent of feed samples had particle size >650 μm. Lysine concentration in 13 feed samples (59%) were >10% different from expected. Feeder pan coverage scores were approximately 40% coverage. Well (groundwater) water had a greater amount of total dissolved solids in comparison to rural (or municipal) water (P < 0.05) with no other differences between water sources. Water flow rate was above the recommended rate in 79% of barns. Seventy-three percent of barns met or exceeded recommended pig:waterer ratio. Barn temperature varied based on outdoor ambient conditions, set-point temperatures, and mechanical versus natural ventilation systems. Manure nitrogen and phosphate concentrations were 6.87 and 3.08 kg/m3 of liquid manure, respectively.

      Implications and Applications

      Variation exists between Midwest-based finishing barns. Based on this survey, producers need to pay additional attention to feeder adjustment, feed particle size, space per pig, and water flow rate.

      Key words

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