Date of this Version
A trial was conducted to compare the effects of gestation housing system (outside dirt lots versus inside gestation stalls) and sow genetic line (n=3) on number born alive, litter weaning weight, daily lactation feed disappearance and lactation feed conversion. All sows farrowed and lactated in confinement. No significant interactions were detected between genetic line and gestation housing system. There were no differences between the two gestation housing systems for number born alive and litter weaning weight. However, there were significant differences between sows housed indoors and outdoors for daily lactation feed disappearance and lactation feed conversion. Sows housed outside had a greater daily lactation feed disappearance (1.1 lb/day; P<.01) than those gestated inside. Additionally, outside-housed sows had a poorer lactation feed conversion than inside-gestation sows, the difference being greatest during the summer farrowing season (3.93 versus 3.17; P<.05). Although this trial did not address the added labor and gestation feed costs often associated with housing sows outside during gestation, it did demonstrate some of the fluctuations in efficiency producers may incur housing sows outside during gestation. These points need to be considered when producers consider changes to their current operation.