In order to further enhance the Teagasc Pig research Programme a new 200 sow Pig Research Facility was built in Teagasc Moorepark. This new facility replaces the previous facility which was over 40 years old. The new state of the art facility will further enable researchers to conduct cutting edge research.
The unit is comprised of two new buildings; a breeding building and a separate finisher building. The first of the new buildings is a 2,500 square metre structure which will house the breeding stock as well as weaners. It has 62 farrowing places (6 of which are suitable for loose farrowing research) and can house 160 dry sows and gilts on 3 Electronic Sow Feeding stations. There are 3 weaner rooms each holding 360 weaners. As well as this we also have some bespoke accommodation for more detailed research work such as a metabolism room for digestibility studies, animal care room for detailed animal examinations and group feed intake recording equipment (F.I.R.E stations). Both weaners and sows have their own feed system and each system has two feeding circuits. This gives great flexibility in feeding frequency and delivery as dry sows and lactating sows can be fed different experimental diets at the same time. Supplying these systems we have 17 silos to cover a wide range of experimental diets and allow use to carry out multiple experiments concurrently across the building. The Moorepark herd will run as a 7 batch herd with a farrowing taking place every 3 weeks. The first of the breeding stock arrived into the unit on the 6th of June and the first batch has already farrowed. These animals had been artificially inseminated off site at a quarantined location and served in batches of 30 sows.
In parallel to the sow and weaner building is a 2,000 square metre Finisher building. This building will hold over 1300 finishers divided into 4 rooms of 330 pigs. There are also be some individual pens for detailed research work as well as an indoor lairage area and finisher F.I.R.E accommodation. Similarly to the breeding building the finishers have their own feed system which will allow several experimental diets to be fed at the same time. To the rear of this building is a further 10 silos supplying experimental diets to this area of the facility.
Alongside these new buildings we also have two older buildings which we have been refurbished over the last few months. One of these buildings has just been fitted out with a new wet feed system. This feed system coupled with a new 36 pen layout allows us to carry out multiple diet experiments with a single batch of finisher pigs.