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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Genetics and Animal Breeding » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #371198

Research Project: Identifying Genomic Solutions to Improve Efficiency of Swine Production

Location: Genetics and Animal Breeding

Title: Effects of farrowing stall layout and number of heat lamps on sow and piglet production performance

item LEONARD, SUZANNE - Iowa State University
item XIN, HONGWEI - University Of Tennessee
item BROWN-BRANDL, TAMI - University Of Nebraska
item RAMIREZ, BRETT - Iowa State University
item DUTTA, SOMAK - Iowa State University
item Rohrer, Gary

Submitted to: Animals
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/19/2020
Publication Date: 2/22/2020
Citation: Leonard, S.M., Xin, H., Brown-Brandl, T.M., Ramirez, B.C., Dutta, S., Rohrer, G.A. 2020. Effects of farrowing stall layout and number of heat lamps on sow and piglet production performance. Animals. 10(2).Article 348.

Interpretive Summary: In the commercial swine industry, farrowing stalls are commonly used as a strategy to reduce piglet pre-weaning mortalities caused by sow over-lay. Farrowing stall dimensions have generally remained the same in the past 50 years in the United States, even though the sizes of both the sows and litters have increased considerably. This extensive field study investigated if sow and piglet productivity would be affected when housed in stalls of traditional layout, additional area for the piglets, or additional area for the sow. All three layouts were also tested with using one or two supplementary heat lamps in the creep area. Results show that stall layout and number of heat lamps had no statistical impact on production outcomes. However, seasonal differences, sow parity, and number of litter mates did have significant effects. Providing larger stalls or an additional heat lamp costs more for the producer but did not yield production improvements.

Technical Abstract: Most farrowing facilities in the United States use stalls and heat lamps to improve sow and piglet productivity. This study investigated these factors by comparing production outcomes for three different farrowing stall layouts (traditional, expanded creep area, expanded sow area) and use of one or two heat lamps. Data were collected on 427 sows and their litters over one year. Results showed no statistical differences due to experimental treatment for any of the production metrics recorded, excluding percent stillborn. Parity one sows had fewer piglets born alive (p < 0.001), lower percent mortality (p = 0.001) and over-lay (p = 0.003), and a greater number of piglets weaned (p < 0.001) with lower average daily weight gain (ADG) (p < 0.001) and more uniform litters (p = 0.001) as compared to higher parity sows. Farrowing turn, associated with group/seasonal changes, had a significant impact on most of the production metrics measured. Number of piglets born influenced the percent stillborn (p < 0.001). Adjusted litter size had a significant impact on percent mortality (p < 0.001), percent over-lay (p < 0.001), and number of piglets weaned (p < 0.001). As the number of piglets weaned per litter increased, both piglet ADG and litter uniformity decreased (p < 0.001). This information can be used to guide producers in farrowing facility design.