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Do Low-Cost Shelters Really Save Money?
Compared with conventional confinement buildings, low-cost "alternative" barns may save you a bundle in construction costs, but it'll also raise your labor costs and lower productivity.
The upshot is that net income per animal is virtually even with that of a conventional confinement building.
That's the conclusion of a first-of-itskind two-year study conducted by re-searchers at Quality Swine Co-op, a member-owned cooperative at Shedden, Ontario.
Doug Wheeler tracked performance of separate groups of pigs with similar genetics, sex ratios, and feed rations in both a BioTech soft-sided barn and a conventional hog building. The tests were repeated three times to verify results.
In the study, a comparison was made of average daily gain, days to market, feed consumption, feed efficiency and carcass measurements.
Results showed lower performance in average daily gain (1.56 lbs. conventional vs. 1.53 BioTech), feed conversion (3.21 vs. 3.33 per lb.) and standard Ontario grading index (108.7 vs. 107.5).
Comparing capital costs, BioTech shelters were $12,000 (Canadian) for structure and $2,000 for equipment. Costs for conventional were $37,880 and $8,146, respectively.
In the end, however, net income per pig was $10.17 for the conventional structure and $8.53 for the BioTech shelter. A major factor in lower net return per pig in the BioTech shelter was the more costly high nutrient density diet pigs required. Re-searchers noted that it's economically essential to do a cost-benefit analysis to assess the impact of using alternate diets to increase performance in BioTech-type barns.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Quality Swine Co-op, P.O. Box 53, Shedden, Ontario, Canada NOL 2EO (ph 519 764-2300, fax 2604).

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1996 - Volume #20, Issue #3