Participants in the National Sow Housing Conversion Project include the Prairie Swine Centre Inc, the University of Manitoba, Manitoba Pork , the Centre de dévelopment du porc du Québec Inc, and Murray Elliott (FGC Ltd).
Prairie Swine Centre Inc.
The Prairie Swine Centre (PSC) is a non-profit research and technology corporation with expertise in swine ethology (behaviour), nutrition and engineering. The research program of the PSC has a near market emphasis, designed to help generate answers to address some of the issues faced by the pork industry and to improve the financial position of pork producers through the development of improved swine management.
More information: www.prairieswine.com
Prairie Swine Centre,
Box 21057, 2105 – 8th Street East,
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7H 5N9
Dr. Jennifer Brown
Dr. Jennifer Brown is the project leader for the NSHCP and lead Research Scientist in Ethology at the Prairie Swine Centre. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan, where she teaches courses in animal behavior and welfare. Dr. Brown received her PhD from the University of Guelph in 2009 studying relationships between behavior, stress physiology and meat quality in market pigs. Dr. Brown’s research at the Swine Centre looks at diverse issues in swine production, including ways of assessing and treating pain in piglets at castration, housing density in nursery pigs, the effects of transportation on stress physiology and meat quality, and optimal management of gestating sows. She is a frequent speaker at pork producer and industry meetings across the country.
Contact: Dr. Jennifer Brown
Dr. Yolande Seddon
Dr. Yolande Seddon is assistant professor of swine behaviour and welfare at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, at the University of Saskatchewan. Having trained in animal behaviour and welfare during her BSc and MSc, she received her PhD from the University of Newcastle, UK in 2011, studying management strategies to control endemic disease in finisher pigs. She spent four years as a research associate in swine ethology and welfare at the Prairie Swine Centre, Saskatchewan. Yolande has extensive experience working on a range of multi-disciplinary, applied swine behaviour and welfare projects, covering various aspects of swine production, including management of the sow during gestation and lactation, pain control, evaluation of stocking density, pig temperament and transport. Yolande is a regular speaker at industry and scientific meetings and is the section editor for the farmed pigs category, for the scientific journal, Animal Welfare. She brings to this project her knowledge of swine behaviour, welfare and management of sows in various group housing system designs.
Contact: Dr. Yolande Seddon
Mr. Lee Whittington
Mr. Lee Whittington is the president and CEO of the Prairie Swine Centre, Inc, and has over 20 years experience working with producers and researchers on management of sow housing, large group autosort feeder systems, segregated early weaning, manure management, odour control, financial modeling, disease control and prevention, and standardization of barn systems to reduce costs. He has travelled extensively speaking to producers and researchers on topics including economics of production, animal housing systems, nutrition and the impact of health on production systems. Mr Whittington brings his broad experience of the swine industry to this project.
Contact: Mr. Lee Whittington
University of Manitoba
Dr. Laurie Connor
Dr. Laurie Connor is head of the Department of Animal Science in the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences. The University of Manitoba has a long standing history as a source of knowledge and innovation in animal agriculture. Professor Connor has extensive research and teaching experience in the areas of swine reproduction, including nutritional and environmental factors affecting reproductive performance in sows, animal-environment interactions, welfare and livestock management, in particular relative to pig housing concepts. In partnership with the Manitoba Pork Council, Professor Connor led a Manitoba based project titled, “Successful conversion to sow group housing: Options and considerations,” that explored group sow housing options, the pros and cons of different systems. The NSHCP builds upon the findings of this initial project, led by Professor Connor and completed in 2012.
Contact: Dr. Laurie Connor
Professor & Head, Dept. of Animal Science
Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2
Dr. Qiang Zhang
Dr. Qiang Zhang is a Professor in Biosystems Engineering at the University of Manitoba, with research experience spanning 20 years in the animal production environment, focusing on the thermal environment and ventilation systems. Professor Zhang previously collaborated with Professor Connor on the project “Successful conversion to sow group housing: Options and considerations”, in which a Cost Design Utility Model was developed to model sow barn conversion options and associated costs. The model is now available to pork producers through Manitoba Pork and as part of the NSHCP. Professor Zhang brings to the project his experience on the design of animal production systems; the relationship of engineering principles of animal physiology; and the thermal environment for animals, including heating and ventilation systems in animal housing.
Contact: Dr. Qiang Zhang
Department of Biosystems Engineering
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 5V6
Manitoba Pork Council
Mark Fynn is the Animal Care Specialist for the Manitoba Pork Council. Mr. Fynn studied under Professor Connor during the completion of his M.Sc. in 2010, studying agricultural economics and animal welfare. For his MSc research, Mr. Fynn conducted an economic analysis and comparison of two loose-housing systems for gestating sows. The economic model developed through this research will be adapted and modified for further use in the NSHCP. Through his work with the Manitoba Pork Council, Mr. Fynn collaborated with researchers at the University of Manitoba on the project, “Successful conversion to sow group housing: Options and considerations.”
Contact: Mark Fynn, M.Sc.
Manager of Quality Assurance & Animal Care Programs
Manitoba Pork Council
28 Terracon Place
Winnipeg Manitoba, R2J 4G7
Centre de dévelopment du porc du Québec
The (CDPQ), developed from the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPQA), to manage the swine production programs. CDPQ now offers wide ranging research expertise to all parts of the swine sector. The aim of the CDPQ is to ensure the sustainable development of the Québec swine industry, through the development of innovation, the transfer of expertise, and the acquisition of skills.
Sébastien Turcotte is an agronomist at the Centre de development du Porc du Québec (CDPQ), and is leading Quebec’s involvement in the NSHCP. Sébastien has extensive knowledge of the different group sow housing systems, and has worked with producers on the economic analysis of the different systems, including installation and operating costs. Previously, Sébastien has led several CDPQ projects exploring the group sow housing conversions in Québec, including the cost implications of installing each of the available systems, and a project exploring the experience of France and Denmark in converting to group housing.
Contact : Sébastien Turcotte
Centre de développement du porc du Québec inc.
Place de la Cité, tour Belle Cour,
2590, boulevard Laurier, bureau 450,
Québec, Québec, G1V 4M6.
Tel: (418) 650-2440
Murray Elliot recently retired as the design and sales representative for FGC Ltd., an award-winning construction firm based in Sebringville, Ontario, that specializes in agricultural buildings. Mr. Elliott has over twenty years of experience managing a three thousand head swine production loop and ten years of experience in the design and building of swine facilities. Over the years he has been involved in many barn conversions which required structural changes, ventilation modifications, feed system installations and the incorporation of improved technology. In 2011-2012 Mr. Elliott’s projects included designing, building, or renovating twelve swine livestock facilities including two conversions from sow confinement housing to loose housing. He has extensive knowledge of swine husbandry and specialized housing needs, as well as the philosophical and practical issues related to loose sow housing.
Contact: Murray Elliott
Douglas Richards is the part-time project coordinator for the NSHCP. He has over 40 years’ experience in all sectors of the Ontario swine industry and has held many positions including: Producer, purebred swine breeding stock, Cordner Farms; Breeding Stock Manager for a large pig co-operative; Senior Field Representative for Ontario Pork; and most recently, Swine Specialist with the Ontario Government. He has actively contributed to national and provincial policy and planning committees for the Ontario government, and planning and organizing committees for Ontario Pork Congress, London Swine Conference, Centralia Swine Research Update, and South Western Ontario Pork Conference. Doug is an exceptional speaker and has provided his insights at many pork industry meetings. In 2014, he received the Ontario Pork Congress Industry Leadership Award.
Contact: Douglas Richards