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 La Coop fédérée. This farm, located near Frampton, Quebec, Canada, utilizes a highly productive female line of genetics, early weaning, 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 668 large scale swine trials over the years, leading to numerous innovations for the benefit of pork producers throughout the world.
CRF’s members have targeted several sow research objectives, such as…
- Nutrient evaluations to optimize performance, reproductive efficiency, and longevity of the sow herd.
- Developing feeding and feed management strategies to improve performance, health and sow reproductive function that would decrease sow weight loss during lactation and increase litter weight gain compared.
- Improve the utilization of feed manufacturing technology to improve feed quality for increased sow performance.
- Develop novel nutritional technologies that would improve pig weaning weights over current sow feeding program performance.
- Evaluation of amino acid and protein feeding sequences during gestation.
- Gilt development programs to improve longevity and performance.
The sow nutrition research 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.
- Management of sows is in five groups (110-115 sows per group – 4 weeks between each group).
- Electronic scales to weigh sows with accuracy within 500 grams.
- Feeding cart with an electronic scales and portable computer system that allows for recording feed intake data systematically.
- Individual pig weights at birth and weaning; other weight intervals possible.
- Individual feed intake data for both gestation and lactation.
- Ultrasound imaging system to measure backfat and muscle thickness and to perform pregnancy checks.
- Numerous feed bins that allow flexibility in the number of feeds that can be fed during experiments.
- Flexibility in the number of possible treatments, replications and trial designs.