In November 2018, California voters approved ballot measure Proposition 12, which mandates strict production standards regarding space requirements for gestating sows and prohibits the sale of any uncooked pork in the state of California that does not meet those production standards. This not only impacts sows housed in California, but every sow housed in other states that would ultimately produce the bacon, ribs, and pork chops sold in California. According to the NPPC, roughly 750,000 sows would be needed to meet the demand for pork in California—which makes up approximately 15% of the total U.S. pork consumption—but there are currently only about 1500 sows housed in the State. The result is that this one ballot measure, in one State, sent the many U.S. pig farmers outside of California scrambling for solutions as the State is a major market for them to sell their pork.
Group housing during gestation is not new to the industry and there are many “loose” housing solutions including both ESF Systems as well as free-access stalls. Crystal Spring introduced its patented free- access stall, the “Freedom Stall”, in 2006 which offers a very simple design for ease of use and minimal maintenance. While the install base had been steadily increasing since that time, the passing of Prop 12 caused a significant spike in interest—the Freedom Stall has been our most talked about product in the last year and a half.
We’ve found that the Freedom Stall works nicely in conjunction with ESF Systems during gestation. It solves the challenge of how to manage Prop 12 space requirements during breeding and pregnancy testing, which was traditionally done with conventional gestation crates before releasing the sows into the ESF group. By allowing the sows to enter the Freedom Stall™ and temporarily lock them in, farmers can safely breed and later preg-check the sows, then unlock them once the husbandry work is done so the sows can freely move back into the group throughout the pen.
This is another example of how we at Crystal Spring are continuously innovating practical and simple solutions to help pig farmers create animal-welfare friendly production systems (as Prop 12 mandates) and improve performance.
Visit our NEW website at www.crystalspring.com to get more information about our Freedom Stall (and our other innovative products) or to find your local authorized dealer or regional CS Expert using our new, interactive dealer locator tool. You may also contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by WhatsApp/Phone: +1 (402) 227-8228.