Amberley Bacon Company is a 1400 sow farrow-to-wean barn located in Huron County, Ontario. The new barn was built in 2011, with gestating sows housed in groups fed via a competitive feeding system. Geene’s family had always managed sows in groups, so group housing was a natural choice when designing the new barn.
Gestation Barn Layout
The gestation room is laid out with high ceilings and is well lit, with a 10’ wide central alley way and 24 pens either side. The gestation pens are constructed with 4” concrete walls and spindle gates. Adjoining pens have concrete walls with openings to provide air circulation and allow visual and tactile contact between sows. The pens are 13’1” by 24’ in dimension with fully slatted floors of 4″ slats and ¾” gaps. Feed and water is provided in stainless steel troughs running along the full length of one wall per pen. Feed lines run above each trough, with five feed drop points per pen using stainless drop tubes.
Geene houses 15-17 sows per pen, varying the group size depending on the size of sows. For example, smaller sows will be housed at 17 per pen, larger sows at 15 per pen providing a space allowance ranging from 18.5-21 ft² (1.7-2.0 m2). The group pens can house 800-900 sows in total, and there are additional pens to house 180-200 gilts. There are 364 breeding stalls and 64 gilt stalls.
Feed drops occur two times a day, at 7:00 and 8:30 AM. Initially, feed was dropped via the five drop tubes along the trough. However, this resulted in an uneven distribution of feed. Geene made adjustments by adding a Y split into the downpipe and divided each feed drop into two, resulting in 10 points for feed distribution along the trough. This allowed more even feed distribution and reduced the intensity of competition among sows at feeding.
Wim van Wijk, Horst Farms
Wim van Wijk is the owner and operator of Horst Farms, a 275 sow farrow-to- finish farm located near Red Deer, Alberta. In 2013 he was considering a herd depopulation to address a disease problem and decided that this was a good opportunity to move to groups. The timing could not have been […]Find Out More
Matador Colony is near Swift Current Saskatchewan. The farrow-to-finish pig operation has 600 sows and was opened in early 2015 with 11 Nedap ESF units being used for different age females in a Dynamic group setting. The ESF units allow mixing of 2 different feed rations plus the addition of growth curves. They are using […]Find Out More
Geert Geene, Amberley Bacon Company
Amberley Bacon Company is a 1400 sow farrow-to-wean barn located in Huron County, Ontario. The new barn was built in 2011, with gestating sows housed in groups fed via a competitive feeding system. Geene’s family had always managed sows in groups, so group housing was a natural choice when designing the new barn.Find Out More
Doug Ahrens, Ham Land Acres
Doug Ahrens runs a 650 sow farrow-to-wean barn in Sebringville, Ontario and is very active in the swine industry, serving as a director with Ontario Pork and Chair of the 2015 London Swine Conference. His sow barn was originally built in 1996, and in 2013 a 6,720 ft2 addition was added to create space for […]Find Out More