Water distribution systems in pig farm buildings: Critical elements of design and management

Stephen Little, Andrew Woodward, Glenn Browning, Helen Billman‐jacobe

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Abstract

Drinking water distribution systems (WDSs) within buildings on pig farms have critical elements of their design and management that impact water provision to pigs, water quality, the efficacy of in‐water antimicrobial dosing, and, thus, pig health and performance. We used a mixed‐methods approach to survey managers of 25 medium to large single‐site and multi‐site pig farming enterprises across eastern and southern Australia. We found wide variation in the configuration (looped or branched) and total length of WDSs within buildings across farms and in pipe materials and diameters. Within many conventional buildings and some eco‐shelters, WDSs were ‘over‐sized’, comprising large‐diameter main pipelines with high holding volumes, resulting in slow velocity water flows through sections of a WDS’s main pipeline. In over half of the weaner buildings and one‐third of grower/finisher buildings, the number of pigs per drinker exceeded the recommended maximum. Few farms measured flow rates from drinkers quantitatively. WDS sanitization was not practiced on many farms, and few managers were aware of the risks to water quality and pig health. We identified important aspects of water provision to pigs for which valuable recommendations could be added to industry guidelines available to pig farm managers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3268
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalAnimals
Volume11
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

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