Brett C. Ramirez Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University

Assistant Professor - Iowa State University

Resources Authored

Factsheets

The Basics of Swine Barn Maintenance

Publish Date: 09/01/2020

The transition in the swine industry to confinement production, where extensive mechanical systems are used automate many routine processes, has created new management needs and challenges. These mechanical systems wear and are prone to failures; therefore, they must be maintained to keep the facility functioning correctly. The cost of the repairs and maintenance can vary widely based on the maintenance program followed and the original equipment installed. Iowa State Extension estimates that the cost of repairs and maintenance annually is 1.5% of the barns original cost, although the type of maintenance program is unknown (Christensen, 2019). To minimize the cost and maximize the barn’s efficiency and lifespan, a maintenance programs must be created and implemented. The different electromechanical systems in a barn (ventilation, feed, water, etc.) all have components that could lead to system failure, thereby having a negative impact on production and pig welfare. For example it has been noted that a feed outage lasting 24 hours can cost at least $1.00 per head in finishing situation (Hollis, 2006). This could be caused by an equipment failure in the feed system and the costs would likely increase rapidly if compounded with multiple equipment failures.


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Resources Edited

Factsheets

Disposal of Swine Mortalities

Publish Date: 10/15/2020

There is no best way to dispose of swine mortality carcasses. While some methods may work well for managing routine mortalities, the ability to scale them up to handle large numbers can be difficult. These methods may not adapt to times when catastrophic mortalities occur. The optimum system for any particular farm location is based on a number of criteria, including the current state of the protein/oil market, the biosecurity required, the distance to processing sites, the local public's perception, the government regulations that apply to that location, the environmental conditions, and the ability of the farm to carry out the different procedures. The death losses at a farm can be classified broadly as one of two types, routine or catastrophic. Routine mortalities represent a small proportion of herd and occur throughout the course of normal production. Catastrophic mortality events involve high death losses within a distinct period of time. These methods can also be used for catastrophic loses but the larger scale in a shorter time frame often increases process intensity. Additionally if losses are due to disease, they have a higher biosecurity risk.


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Factsheets

The Basics of Swine Barn Maintenance

Publish Date: 09/01/2020

The transition in the swine industry to confinement production, where extensive mechanical systems are used automate many routine processes, has created new management needs and challenges. These mechanical systems wear and are prone to failures; therefore, they must be maintained to keep the facility functioning correctly. The cost of the repairs and maintenance can vary widely based on the maintenance program followed and the original equipment installed. Iowa State Extension estimates that the cost of repairs and maintenance annually is 1.5% of the barns original cost, although the type of maintenance program is unknown (Christensen, 2019). To minimize the cost and maximize the barn’s efficiency and lifespan, a maintenance programs must be created and implemented. The different electromechanical systems in a barn (ventilation, feed, water, etc.) all have components that could lead to system failure, thereby having a negative impact on production and pig welfare. For example it has been noted that a feed outage lasting 24 hours can cost at least $1.00 per head in finishing situation (Hollis, 2006). This could be caused by an equipment failure in the feed system and the costs would likely increase rapidly if compounded with multiple equipment failures.


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Factsheets

The Environment in Swine Housing

Publish Date: 11/01/2019

Economies of scale and the greater need for efficiency have resulted in the vast majority of pigs being raised indoors. These artificial environments have a great impact on production performance and the health status of both the pig and the worker. With the pork industry becoming more integrated, uniform-style barns are built in multiples, and an error in design can be multiplied many times over. This situation highlights the continued need for adhering to basic design principles in ventilation and environmental control.


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Factsheets

Automatic Sorting Technology for Large Pen Finishing

Publish Date: 08/22/2008

Technological advances and an enhanced understanding of the finishing pigs needs have resulted in the application of new, innovative methods of housing and managing the finishing pig. Housing of finishing pigs in very large pens, containing 500 or more pigs, is now being practiced throughout the U.S. swine industry. Large pens can capture efficiencies of space and help alleviate problems associated with animal aggression and behavior. Application of automated sorting technology has improved animal handling within large group finishers while expanding producer opportunities to fine-tune management decisions regarding feeding, monitoring, and marketing finishing pigs. Enhanced management has allowed producers to capture economic benefits from finishing facilities while maintaining productivity and welfare of the pig. This fact sheet describes the industries current understanding of automatic sorting technology.


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