Study questions sow stall effectiveness
A study by researchers at Iowa State University found
that placing pregnant sows in group housing structures (hoop barns) could be
more cost-effective and just as productive as placing them in sow
The study, conducted for 2.5 years at a research farm in South West Iowa,
compared sows housed in stalls to those housed in naturally ventilated hoop
barns with straw bedding.
More live pigs
957 litters from 353 sows, the scientists discovered that sows in the hoop barns
gave birth to more live pigs per litter than those in gestation
They also found that group housing may produce hogs at a cost
of as much as 11% less per weaned animal than the sow stalls, also known as
The scientists suggested that
the bedding and the sows' ability to huddle in the hoop barns, thus controlling
their temperature, could have added to their performance.
The use of sow stalls is very
topical in the US, as several states have already banned this practice. In
addition, companies like Smithfield and Maple Leaf will phase out the use of
gestation crates within the next decade.
Click here for more news on gestation
â€¢ Iowa State
â€¢ Smithfield Foods
â€¢ Maple Leaf
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