An experiment was carried out recently, by the Prairie Swine Centre, into water wastage in the pig industry and found one-way where farmers can reduce waste by up to 20%.
The experiment was conducted to study the effects of height and flow rate of nipple drinkers on water wastage in pigs and the results showed that reducing the nipple height can help reduce wastage by up to 20%. The experiment also showed that a high flow rate led to an increase in water waste.
The team at the Prairie Swine centre carried out the experiment after a previous study alerted them to the fact that finisher pigs wasted 25% of water from nipple drinkers at a standard flow rate.
They also noticed that on commercial farms the wastage is much higher, between 40-60% in some cases. They theorized that this waste could be attributed to nipple drinkers were at an improper height and flow rate, leading to the conducting of this latest study.
Picture of some finisher pigs Below - National Hog Farmer
The Study -
Using four pens, with eight female pigs tested over a 12-week period, the team measured feed intake, water wastage and water disappearance in two stages, weeks 1-4 for growers and week 8-14 for finishers.
In both stages, the team set up drinkers at two different heights, i.e. one 5cms higher than the smallest pig in each pen. Two different flow rates (500 and 1000ml/min) were employed at each drinker, with pigs then exposed to the test for one week.
Data was then collected by the team of researchers for the last four days of the week, with the body weight of the pigs measured at the beginning of each test and every two weeks after that. The team also calculated the feed intake of each animal every week.
Results and Conclusion -
The experiment found that nipple height did not affect either the feed intake or water intake of grower and finisher pigs, though a lower nipple height increased water waste by 10% in growers and up to 20% in finisher pigs.
The study also found that a higher flow rate in nipple drinkers leads to an increase in water wastage by up to 7% in both groups (finisher and grower pigs). The experiment used much lower flow rates than those used on commercial farms and the team say higher flow rates result in more spillage from nipple drinkers.
To read the study in full click here.