CRF’s first swine research farm was organized in Illinois in 1959, which allowed the CRF members to venture into large-scale proprietary sow nutrition and management research. Now, Cooperative Research Farms’ sow nutrition research is conducted in a 600 sow breeding to wean facility owned by our member Sollio Agriculture. This farm, located near Frampton, Quebec, Canada, utilizes a highly productive female line of genetics, extensive management, and a strict biosecurity program. 100% of the research capacity is devoted to breeding herd nutrition and management trials. A sow research facility of this scale represents a significant investment, and clearly shows the commitment of the CRF members to their swine nutrition customers. The CRF organization has conducted 794 large scale swine trials over the years, leading to numerous innovations for the benefit of pork producers throughout the world. Today, CRF members apply CRF’s research to 2,000,000 metric tons of swine feeds annually!
The mission of CRF’s swine research program is to… Develop an acute understanding of high priority nutrition and nutrition management issues that lead to the creation of solutions and strategies that support significant economic return to the member companies and their swine nutrition customers. Thus, the CRF members have determined several critical and current sow research objectives, such as…
- Develop nutrition and management strategies to reduce pre-weaning mortality related to continuous improvement of productivity.
- Optimize gestation and lactation feeding strategies to sustain high performance at minimal cost.
- Develop optimal feeding strategies for sows fed with electronic feed systems.
- Evaluate nutrient and management strategies to optimize performance, reproductive efficiency, and longevity of the sow herd.
CRF’s sow nutrition research farm will allow us to research and meet our objectives. The farm features…
- 600 sows from a highly productive genetic line.
- 4 farrowing rooms (30 stalls per room).
- Gestation capacity of 480 sows and gilts.
- 100% artificial insemination.
- Weaning at 21 days of age.
- Sows are managed in five groups (110-115 sows per group & 4 weeks between each group).
- Sows are weighed with electronic scales with an accuracy within 500 grams.
- Feed intake data systematically measured using a feed cart with an electronic scales and portable computer system.
- Individual sow feed intake in both gestation and lactation.
- Individual pig weights at birth and weaning, and other time points.
- Ultrasound imaging system to measure backfat depth, muscle depth, and pregnancy checks.
- Numerous feed bins that allow flexibility in the number of feeds that can be fed during experiments.
- Flexibility in the number of treatments, replications and experimental designs.
- Ability to follow pigs from birth to the packing plant, with performance and meat yield & meat quality data.
CRF’s sow research program continues to benefit it’s members, and has several notable achievements over the recent years.
- Developed a multi-phase lactation feeding program.
- Evaluation of alternative gestation feeding programs to enhance performance and minimize cost.
- Evaluation of feed enhancers in lactation diets.
- Evaluated new concepts to enhance litter size and reproductive efficiency.
- Developed feeding strategies for the weaning to breeding period.
- Determined the gestation amino acid and protein requirements for lean genotype maternal lines.
- Evaluated particle size and its effect on sow and litter performance.
- Developed feeding programs to reduce the environmental impact.