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Research conducted by the University of Manitoba has shown narrowing the gap width in slatted concrete flooring can improve the foot health of sows while maintaining the effectiveness of manure handling. As part of research conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc scientists with the University of Manitoba compared different slatted concrete flooring configurations, looking at the effect of slat width and gap width on the health and longevity of group housed gestating sows and on air quality and manure management. Dr. Qiang Zhang, a professor in Biosystems Engineering with the University of Manitoba, explains scientists compared the typical slat and gap width flooring to a new narrower slat and gap width configuration.
Clip-Dr. Qiang Zhang-University of Manitoba:
We actually put the new floor in two rooms, one room with the traditional five inch one inch floor and the other room actually with this new floor. That’s four and a quarter inch and three quarter inch of gap.
Then we put sows into the two rooms and basically did a direct comparison of the sow performance and also the air quality in these two rooms. Now, the short answer is there’s no difference between the two rooms in terms of sow performance and air quality. We did notice there’s less foot lesions in the narrow floor room and air quality was identical in the two rooms. That means the narrow gap did not affect manure drainage and the floor cleanliness and the sow cleanliness were all identical.Statistically there’s no difference between the two rooms.
Dr. Zhang says the results of this work have just been released but the hope is that it will be used by producers and floor manufacturing companies in deciding what flooring to use in loose housing systems for gestating sows.
For Farmscape.Ca, I’m Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork