The new 5,400-sow Kodiak Pork farm near Elkton, S.D., is the first in the Pipestone System to feature electronic sow feeding (ESF), which is designed to deliver accurate rations through electronic sow identification.

“The shareholder owners of Kodiak Pork wanted group gestation, and electronic sow feeding is the most advanced method of feeding sows in groups,” Jared Hemelstrand, Pipestone System regional director, said in a news release.

According the release, the Kodiak Pork facility features 88 electronic sow feeders, as well as automated heat detection. Population started mid-March, when management brought in gilts over a two-week period, filling the building with 6,800 head, including breeding gilts and replacements. During population, many of the pens in the facility were used as training pens.

After start-up, new gilts enter Kodiak Pork through the nursery, where they spend 7-8 weeks. Post-nursery, they move to pretraining rooms, where they spend 8-10 weeks learning to move through ESF gates. In pre-training pens, ad lib feed and water are provided on opposite sides of the training gate.

At 20 weeks of age, the growing gilts move into training pens centrally located adjacent to the gestation pens in the main area of the barn. Here, employees will monitor gilts closely to ensure they are using the electronic feeder often. In this phase, electronic ear tags are used to dispense feed individually to each gilt. The ESF technology helps caretakers monitor feed intake and animal movement.

When gilts reach puberty, they are bred and then moved to 55-head gestation pens, with 22 sq.ft. per sow. Every electronic feeder provides nutrition for up to 60 animals.

Other features at Kodiak Pork include:

  • 18 farrowing rooms with 52 sows in individual crates in each room
  • 656 breeding stalls
  • 145,000 weaned pigs delivered annually to the farm’s shareholder owners’ finishing facilities

Full-Time Cook
The facility includes a professional kitchen and comfortable break area for its 20-employee team. The new facility includes a full-time cook who will prepare meals daily, a feature that is new to Pipestone System facilities, Hemelstrand said.