About Alternative Swine Production Systems at the University of Minnesota
In 1997, the Minnesota State Legislature appropriated funds for research, development, and promotion of pig production systems that were once commonplace, but are now considered alternatives to the large scale, conventional units that dominate the hog industry today. The legislative allocation also included funds for a scientist to conduct research on alternative systems, and an outreach coordinator, to provide educational programming on issues related to those alternatives.
The goal of this effort is to provide information to farmers who are using or thinking about using alternative pork production systems, to help them be profitable while managing the system to protect the environment and provide for animal welfare.
As a result of this allocation, four hoop structures were built at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) at Morris, MN. They were designed and now used for:
- Two of the units are for finishing market hogs,
- One of the units is for storing bedding and also hold equipment for sorting pigs,
- One of the units is a group gestation barn.
An older slatted floor farrowing barn has been converted to a deep-bedded, group farrowing/nursery setting, with 3 rooms that each holds 8 sows plus pigs.
Yuzhi Li is the Swine Scientist at WCROC who conducts research on alternative systems. She can be contacted at ph#320-589-1711, or at email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Wayne Martin is the coordinator, located on the St Paul Campus. He can be reached at 320-625-6224 or at email: email@example.com .
Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about the program, or if you’d like to be on a listserv to receive information about upcoming workshops and other related events.