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National sow housing conversion project

The National Sow Housing Conversion Project (NSHCP) is a four year project, designed to document barn conversions and existing group housing systems across Canada.

The project is now in its second year, and is jointly funded by government and industry.

The objective of the NSHCP is to provide comprehensive examples of barn designs and management options for group-housed sows; providing producers with the resources they need to make this conversion with confidence. Ultimately, the goal is to smooth the transition to group housing, helping to maintain production levels and profitability as both sows and producers adjust to a new system.

The NSHCP brings together industry leaders and scientific expertise to produce a comprehensive national strategy involving demonstration farms and technology transfer on group housing.

The NSHCP will follow four barns from planning to completion, documenting construction plans, costs, management decisions, and staff training.

The researchers will also monitor production levels before and after the conversion process, and document any management problems along the way.

This process will give a well-documented approach to describing the challenges related to facilities, people and pigs when redesigning an existing stall barn to meet the needs of group-housed sows.

The different case studies will provide producers with tips on management, maintaining productivity, and different layout designs, as well as documenting producers’ perspectives on the pros and cons of different group housing options.

In addition to the four barn conversions, an additional 10 farms from across the country will be identified, including both new barns and renovated sites that are already using group housing. Six of these farms have been identified, including a range of large and small herds located in New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

These operations will demonstrate group housing in a greater diversity of locations, herd sizes and housing systems, giving a broader sense of the housing and management options available.

Results from the project will be communicated through the project website:


, to be launched in January 2016. The website will be central in sharing the study results and will include detailed examples including barn plans and video interviews with producers.

The project also publishes a newsletter with the second issue out this past October.

For more information on the NSHCP or to receive the latest newsletter (Oct. 2015) please contact Dr. Jennifer Brown, Prairie Swine Center Tel: (306) 667-7442 or e-mail

The National Sow Housing Conversion Project is funded by Swine Innovation Porc within the Swine Cluster 2: Driving Results Through Innovation research program. Funding is provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the AgriInnovation Program, provincial producer organizations and industry partners.

Source: .ontariopork