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Feasibility of Concrete Swine Production Facilities

Date of publication : 9/8/2008
Source : Prairie Swine Centre publication
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A feasibility study has been completed to evaluate the potential of concrete swine buildings and manure storage facilities in the Prairie region. Three building concepts combined with four manure storage options have been studied. A building with concrete walls and wood truss roof would increase concrete usage by 25% compared to a conventional wood frame building. Supplemental information should be gathered about the design and cost of swine buildings with concrete walls considering construction techniques and local availability of concrete in the Prairies.


INTRODUCTION

Most of the building construction that occurs in the Prairies presently is done using traditional wood framing structures and earthen manure storage (EMS) facilities. Other types of livestock facility design with concrete wall panels have been constructed, mainly in Ontario, over the last 20 years. Concrete walls have been chosen as a way to increase building life cycle and also to improve rodent control.


EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURES

Three building concepts and four manure storage options have been evaluated. The reference building and manure storage concepts (building concept 1 and manure storage concept A) were based on the Prairie Swine Centre Elstow Research Farm, a 600-sow farrow-to-finish operation with an EMS. The three building concepts included:

     1. a building design with conventional wood frame walls and wood truss roof;
     2. a building with concrete walls and wood truss roof; and
     3. a building with concrete walls and an insulated concrete slab for roofing.

The studied manure storage concepts were:

     A. a regular EMS
     B. an EMS with a synthetic liner;
     C. concrete manure tanks; and
     D. a deep pit concrete storage underneath the barn.


Table 1. Volume of Concrete Used for Different Building and Manure Storage Options


Building Option

Manure Storage Concept


A


B


C


D

1

1,757

1,757

2,804

4,975

 

0.0%

0.0%

59.6%

183.2%

2

2,201

2,201

3,248

5,419

 

25.3%

25.3%

84.9%

208.4%

3

3,645

3,645

4,692

6,863

 

107.5%

107.5%

167.0%

290.6%



Table 2. Annualized Costs for Different Building and Manure Storage Options


Building Option

Manure Storage Concept


A


B


C


D

1

267,488

271,729

281,886

357,780

 

0.0%

1.6%

5.4%

33.8%

2

225,544

229,785

239,941

315,835

 

-15.7%

-14.1%

-10.3%

18.1%

3

266,949

271,190

281,346

357,240

 

-0.2%

1.4%

5.2%

33.6%



RESULTS

Building concepts 2 and 3 would respectively increase concrete usage by 25 and 107% compared to a conventional wood frame building (Table 1). The concrete volume required by manure storage concepts C and D would exceed volume of concept A by 60 and 183% respectively. If building concept 3 is combined with manure storage concept D, the total concrete usage would be almost three times what would be used with a typical farm construction (concepts 1 and A).

A deep pit barn design (concept D) could offer some benefits and would greatly increase the concrete demand. However, considering safety risks associated with potential H2S accumulation in the barn and possible corrosion problems, more research needs to be completed before heavily promoting this barn concept.


IMPLICATIONS

A swine facility with concrete walls and concrete manure tanks constitutes the most promising option for enhancing the life cycle and decreasing the annualized cost of production facilities. Supplemental information should be gathered about the design and cost of swine buildings with concrete walls considering construction techniques and local availability of concrete in the Prairies and life cycle maintenance requirements.


FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

The various combinations of building and manure storage concepts either decreased the annualized building cost by 16% or increased it by up to 34%. Considering the concrete usage, the cost analysis and the pros and cons of each combination, building concept 2 combined with manure storage concept C is considered to be the most feasible options to offer Prairie swine producers with more durable facilities at a lower cost.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Strategic program funding provided by SaskPork, Alberta Pork, Manitoba Pork and Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food Development Fund. Project funding was provided by the Cement Association of Canada.


By Stéphane Lemay, Claude Laguë1 and Liliane Chénard
Result Pages / Publications - Prairie Swine Centre

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