Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Modern Hog Feeding

Nothing causes more uproar in rural Iowa these days than when some people hear that a new hog building is being built in their area. This is not a defense nor a promotion of a particular position in that argument. Rather it is simply a few pictures of what the buildings are like and a few sentences to explain the pictures.

Its 10 degrees today, 9 to 10 inches of snow on the ground.

Inside the automatic controllers are maintaining the set temperature of 77.5 degrees. The controller switches on the heaters or increases the speed of the ventilation fans seen in the first picture, that draw air from under the slats seen in the third picture.

With the slat floor under the hogs, the manure and urine fall into the pit under the building. It is stored there until it is pumped out and injected into the ground as fertilizer in the fall.

This next picture is of the hog feeders and the waterer in the center of the pen.

Here is a picture of the whole room, or half the building.

As more and more consumers asked for lean pork, the producers bred hogs with little fat on them.
In cold weather the fat is a hogs insulation against the cold. Hogs like these can not handle the cold weather. With this many hogs in the room, it only takes a few weeks until they no longer need an auxiliary heat source, the body heat of that many hogs keeps the temperture constant.

In the summer, a curtain which you can see in the first picture, which also lets light through in the day time, is lowered by the controller to allow the natural air outside to flow through the building. In the spring and fall the controller will run more fans or open and close the curtain depending on the outside tempture.

In the first picture, at the far end of the building is a bulk tank which holds the feed that is augered into the feeders for the hogs to eat. Each tank holds about 8 ton of feed. A truck brings the feed to fill the tanks, whenever the tank goes empty.

Hope you find these pictures and the descriptions informative.