Applicability of High-RiseTM Hog Housing for Finishing Operations

2002 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Swine Report. The design of High-RiseTM swine facilities allows the generation of a solid, manure-laden material from hogs raised in confinement housing with slatted floors. The volume of manure that must be handled annually can be reduced through continuous moisture loss that takes place within the systems drying bed and recycling of bed material. Recycling typically involves mixing material twice a year at the end of finishing periods. Moisture contents of twice-recycled manure-laden bed material ranged between 55-65% with continuous aeration for three years of production. This moisture range makes the material acceptable directly as feedstock for composting. Ammonia emissions should be similar to those from deep-pit facilities. However, the levels of other problematically odorous gases should be reduced most of the time due to the generally aerobic nature of the drying bed. Hydrogen sulfide was seldom detected within the building using readily available sensing equipment (i.e. H2S < 0.3 ppm) even during handling of the manure-laden bed material, and was never measured at more than 4 ppm, which is promising from a safety standpoint. Data collected from six production groups indicated that average daily gain and feed efficiency of finishing pigs in the High-RiseTM facility were equal to or possibly better than that of those produced simultaneously in 11 nearby conventional facilities with an identical source of pigs and the same contract-feeding arrangement. Construction of such a facility incurs additional costs associated with purchasing, installing and operating the aeration system and paying some proprietary fees. With these added costs (+15-20% initial), this system is projected to be a viable alternative mainly for those operations having a combination of special criteria/ constraints, including: relatively high risk of polluting local waterways or water supply; long manure-hauling distances to fields; access to markets for solid manure or compost feedstock; some, but not tremendous, pressure to limit odor generation; and/or limited water availability.