Few issues in swine production are as complex as floor space allowances. One method for pork producers to calculate floor space allowance (A) is to convert BW into a 2-dimensional concept yielding an expression of A = k * BW(0.667). Data on ADG, ADFI, and G:F were obtained from published peer-reviewed studies. Five data sets were created: A = grower-finisher pigs, fully slatted floors, and consistent group size; B = grower-finisher pigs and fully slatted floors (group size did not need to be consistent); C = grower-finisher pigs, partially slatted floors, and consistent group size; D = grower-finisher pigs, partially slatted floors (group size did not need to be consistent); and E = nursery pigs, fully slatted or woven wire floors (group size did not need to be consistent). Each data set was analyzed using a broken-line analysis and a linear regression. For the broken-line analyses, the critical k value, below which a decrease in ADG occurred, varied from 0.0317 to 0.0348. In all cases the effect of space allowance on ADG was significant (P < 0.05). Using the linear analyses based on data with k values of < 0.030, the critical k values for the 4 grower-finisher data sets did not differ from those obtained using the broken-line analysis (0.0358 vs. 0.0336, respectively; P > 0.10); however, none of the linear regressions explained a significant proportion of the variation in ADG. The slopes for the nonplateau portion of the broken-line analyses based on percent values varied among data sets. For every 0.001 decrease in k (approximately 3% of the critical k value), ADG decreased by 0.56 to 1.41%, with an average value of 0.98% for the 5%-based analyses. The use of an allometric approach to express space allowance and broken-line analysis to establish space requirements seem to be useful tools for pig production. The critical k value at which crowding becomes detrimental to the growth of the pig is similar in full- and partial-slat systems and in nursery and grower-finisher stages. The critical point for crowding determined in these analyses approximated current recommendations to ensure the welfare of pigs.
- space requirement
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