The University of Missouri has completed a state-of-the-art swine barn dedicated to teaching. An open house was held Sept. 29 for the new facility in Columbia, attended by producers and industry leaders.
The 110- x 48-ft. building houses an exhibition room, a 24-sow breeding/gestation room, a 12-sow farrowing room, a 150-head nursery and a 150-head finishing room.
The observation hallway allows visitors to view the pigs from a biosecure area. The facility features high-tech monitoring and control systems, including automatic temperature controls. Computers measure how much water pigs drink and turn lights on and off according to seasonal requirements.
“The biosecure facility is representative of modern production,” says Tim Safranski, University of Missouri 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 will learn more about swine production practices by measuring and recording data rather than by reading statistics, he adds.
“In addition to students, we also will be able to train and educate industry and producers with this new facility,” Safranski says. “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.”