Swine Cluster 1

Evaluation and development of standards for swine production systems

Project leaders

  • Lee Whittington, Prairie Swine Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Bernardo Predicala, Prairie Swine Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Project objective

  • To develop a methodology for analyzing the cost/benefit of system optimization and standardization that can be applied to commercial swine farms.
  • To ensure that concepts identified in this project can be translated to the farm, providing a competitive advantage to Canadian pork producers.

Summary of the project

The project will evaluate existing standards developed in other industries and estimate the value these bring to their respective industries. Can these approaches to standardization be applied to (and pork producers benefit from) the lessons learned in other industries? 

Benchmark current systems in operating swine barns (i.e. ventilation & heating) to determine operating efficiency and cost of operation, 

and identify strategies to improve the operation. For example, benchmarking will lead to strategies to improve energy use, which preliminary research suggests varies by a factor of 4 in utility cost 

per pig shipped between highly efficient and less efficient operations. 

Existing standards for livestock barns and codes of practice for swine production will also be evaluated. More specifically, the impact of major changes over the past 20 years in pig genetics (body weight, growth rate, reproductive capacity, etc.), management practices (stocking density, space allowances, etc.), technology (building materials, barn equipment, etc.) and welfare demands, among others. Also, the adequacy of the existing standards and codes, many established decades earlier, will be examined to determine if they 

still satisfy the requirements of modern pig production. 

Next, opportunities for system standardization and optimization 

within the pig barn will be investigated too. This will involve 

development of a methodology that allows evaluation of an operation to identify systems that are not fully optimized, which is particularly important with so many different types of production systems in Canada. 

Finally, recommendations for the development of new or modified standards and/or codes of practice that reflect the current environment under which modern pig production occurs will be developed.

Significant achievements

A literature review of standards used in non-agricultural industries (example: military, manufacturing, medicine, sports) was begun. 

The improving value or benefit of implementing this standard to 

their respective industry was identified. Also, a literature review 

of standards used in livestock production in the USA and selected European countries is in progress. Sources identified include ASABE, where 38 standards were identified for further review. In addition, 

8 other sources were identified; ANSI, ASHRAEA, ASCE, ASME, ASTM, AMCA, IES, MWPS. Within this group, an additional 

55 standards identified warranted further investigation. Codes 

of practice included a total of 55 regulations identified for Canada, 

20 for the USA and 8 for EU that apply directly to pigs.



Associated documents

What Can We Learn from the 3 Point Hitch? - Newsletter October 2012


Farmscape Interview: November 2012 - Pork Producers Encouraged to Provide Input for Improved Building Codes and Standards


Farmscape Interview: December 2012 - Improved Swine Barn Construction Standards Expected to Reduce Pork Production Costs