The $7.4 million SDSU Swine Education and Research Facility consists of three buildings including a Sow Teaching and Intensive Research Complex, On-Site Wean-to-Finish Research Barn, and an Off-Site Wean-to-Finish Production Barn.
The SDSU swine herd consists of 150-sows managed in five groups with 30 sows/group. The production system is designed for batch farrowing every 4 weeks and weaning at 21 days of age.
The Sow Teaching and Intensive Research Complex serves as the hub of the teaching, research and Extension outreach activities for the SDSU swine program. A 50-seat modern classroom with education technology solutions also features portable pens at the front of the room, allowing pigs to be brought into the classroom to support teaching and discussion.
Observation windows and an elevated walkway enhance public outreach by allowing visitors to the facilities to view aspects of the modern production process—from boar collection and breeding to gestation and farrowing, without having to “shower in.” The viewing windows help fulfill SDSU’s mission of providing teaching, research and Extension opportunities to the general public, and to “demystify” pork production.
A surgical suite and attached surgical prep and recovery rooms are equipped with the capability to conduct surgical procedures on pigs from 10 to 500 lbs. Procedures such as implantation of a cephalic vein catheter with subcutaneous port or ileal cannulation allow repeated collection of key biological samples with minimal pig restraint. These procedures ensure animal well-being and aid in enhancing our understanding of the influence of nutrition and external variables on key biological events such as digestibility, attainment of puberty, and farrowing duration, for example, that impact practical swine production.
A Boar Collection Room provides learning opportunities for reproduction and swine production classes. A pass-through window connects the Boar Collection Room with a Semen Processing Lab. Students are able to learn about industry standards for artificial insemination techniques in the new facilities.
The Physiology Room is a climate-controlled room equipped with stalls to individually house up to 18 animals to facilitate collection of frequent biological samples during reproductive events such as the attainment of puberty, throughout various stages of the estrous cycle, and the return to estrus following weaning. Four larger pens allow for the animals to be housed in small groups for observations of estrus behavior. Alleyways throughout the room are sized to accommodate the presence of a boar during estrus detection.
Each of the two Farrowing Rooms in the facility are equipped with 24 farrowing stalls/ room. The 6-ft. x 8-ft. farrowing stalls are larger than current industry standards in order to accommodate future production changes, such as larger litters and later weaning ages. The SDSU Jackrabbit-colored blue and yellow farrowing stalls and gestation stalls were donated by MDS Manufacturing in Parkston, SD. South Dakota Industries provided the feeders for the rooms at a reduced cost.
The Gestal feeding system in the Farrowing Rooms allows researchers to conduct feeding trials, including the opt to provide two experimental lactation diets. The Farrowing Room feeding system allows researchers to measure and record sow lactation feed intake within 1 gram of accuracy.
Piglets are provided access to two heat sources in the farrowing stalls – both heat lamps and heating pads – to aid in piglet comfort. Drip coolers over the farrowing crates help aid in sow comfort. Piglets are weaned at an average of 21 days of age.
A uniquely designed Gestation Room is set up to demonstrate both pen gestation and the use of gestation stalls. The Pen Gestation system consists of three pens of 30 sows each. The pens have sloped laying areas and partial walls for sow comfort. Each gestation pen is equipped with a Mannebeck Electronic Feeding System. The feeders are activated by each sow’s eartag, allowing sows to enter the system to eat an individually prescribed ration. Data recorded during each feeding visit provides information about sow eating habits. Two separate feed lines supply the Electronic Feeding Systems which are equipped with blenders, making it possible to feed a different diet to each of the 30 sows in each pen.
The facility contains 36 gestation stalls with individual feeders, in addition to 36 breeding stalls. All sows spend the first 30 days post-mating in individual stalls. After confirming pregnancy by ultrasound, sows are moved into the pen gestation system.
Piglets from the SDSU Swine Herd will be moved to the 1,200-head SDSU On-Site Wean-to-Finish Barn. The barn is a shower in, shower out facility for maintenance of biosecurity. The barn consists of four, mechanically ventilated, 300-head rooms operated as all in, all out by room.
Two rooms on the southern side of the building contain 50 pens each with total slatted floors and a 10-ft deep pit. Each pen holds 6-7 pigs from weaning to market weight and has the ability to feed up to six different dietary treatments for intense nutritional research.
Feed is dispensed via a feed buggy on an overhead rail throughout the facility. The feed buggy includes a load cell to record feed weight. The ability to hoist and weigh feeders in the Nutrition Room will be a valuable asset to researchers.
The two rooms on the northern side of the building have 20 partially slatted floor pens in each room and each pen will hold 15 pigs.
The floors are one-third slatted and two-thirds solid with heating and cooling capabilities within the solid flooring to enhance the microenvironment and contribute to pig comfort. The floor tempering is used to investigate the growth potential of modern pigs through better control of the thermal environment. There are also four separate shallow gutters in each room that allow researchers to collect manure samples based on differing dietary treatments.
Bulk bins outside of the On-Site Wean-to-Finish Barn contain load cells and help staff monitor feed intake to note immediately if feed consumption changes.
The 1,200-head SDSU Off-Site Wean-to-Finish Production Barn will be stocked from an outside pig source, allowing for production-scale research. The barn is a shower in, shower out facility with biosecurity procedures to reduce disease transmission. Animals will be housed in the facility from weaning to market weight and the barn will be operated as all in, all out. The barn is tunnel-ventilated with a 10-ft. deep pit underneath and set up according to commercial pork industry standards. The building contains 52 pens, arranged with four rows of 13 pens per row. Approximately 25 pigs will be housed per pen, providing 9 sq. ft. per pig space when stocked at 1,200 head. A pen scale in the middle of the barn allows pig weights to be gathered from one pen at a time with minimal handling effort. Dedicated water lines allow for up to four separate water treatments to be investigated. A feeding system from Feedlogic provides up to six different dietary treatments in the barn as it automatically moves and delivers the correct diets throughout the facility on ceiling-mounted rails.
Hogslat donated a portable chute for loading and unloading use at the Off-site Wean-to-Finish Barn.
The swine industry is an economic powerhouse in South Dakota and the region, generating important jobs and revenue, and serving as a valuable customer of locally grown corn and soybeans.
South Dakota State University’s teaching, research and Extension functions are vitally important in preparing tomorrow’s pork producers and leaders for the industry’s promising potential. The SDSU Swine Education and Research Facility will continue to play an integral role in exposing students from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and surrounding states to real-world swine industry teaching and research experiences.
Last updated 3/22/17
South Dakota State University has a strong swine program, with research in the areas of nutrition and reproduction, swine courses, and extension programming.For more information