Producers, industry leaders, students and neighbors attended an open house recently for a state-of-the-art swine barn dedicated to teaching. Guests toured the facility and met with University of Missouri animal science faculty and staff. Pork burgers donated by the Missouri Pork Association were served by the Mizzou Swine Club.
The 110-by-48-foot building houses an exhibition room, a 24-sow breeding/ gestation room, a 12-sow farrowing room, a 150- head nursery and a finishing room that can house 150 market hogs.
A key feature of the swine teaching barn is the observation hallway, which allows visitors to observe the pig rooms from a biosecure area. The facility employs high-tech monitoring and control technologies, including automatic temperature controls. Computers measure how much water pigs are drinking and turn lights on and off according to seasonal requirements.
“The biosecure facility is representative of modern production,” said Tim Safranski, MU Extension state swine specialist and associate professor of animal science. “The swine barn will let us teach livestock production techniques rather than just teaching about the animal in a normal classroom. Students will get hands-on experience by actually doing the work involved with raising pigs.”
Students can gain insight into swine production practices and techniques by measuring and recording results rather than by reading statistics, Safranski said.
“In addition to students, we also will be able to train and educate industry and producers with this new facility,” he said. “Companies with interests in large-animal production can send employees to our facility to watch through the observation hallway with its large viewing windows. This will give them an opportunity to learn exactly what is involved in raising swine without having to go through biosecurity measures.”
Ross Cowart, MU associate professor of veterinary medicine and surgery, will use the barn to teach veterinary students hands-on disease diagnosis, in-barn procedures and surgeries.