Barn cleaning and the animals’ consumption are the top water uses in swine facilities, according to researchers at Canada’s Prairie Swine Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

By reducing the water-use rate, you can lower production cost and manure-pit slurry volume, the researchers say. So to determine which water conservation strategy is most effective, they tested different animal drinkers and pressure-washing strategies.

The researchers tested three drinker types in a grow/finish room to evaluate overall water disappearance, water waste and water contamination level, as well as the pigs’ average daily gain and average daily feed intake. The animal drinkers used included a nipple drinker, a nipple drinker with a side panel and a trough with a side panel and a constant water level.

The researchers determined that presenting water to pigs in a trough with a side panel and a constant water level reduced water waste by up to 60 percent. They concluded that this system has the greatest potential for water savings without affecting pig performance.

The researchers also tested cleaning strategies in a grow/finish room with partially and fully slatted concrete flooring. These included soaking prior to high-pressure washing as well as using different high-pressure washing nozzles: conventional nozzle, Y-nozzle, water broom and 4-in-1 nozzle.

They found that using a conventional nozzle led to less time and water consumption during high-pressure washing. The researchers also determined that the water-soaking step in facilities with fully and partially slatted floors resulted in significantly higher water consumption than without soaking. Specifically for fully slatted floors, the researchers say that high-pressure washing can be done successfully without prior soaking.

High-pressure washing that used the rotating turbo nozzle led to less time and water consumption during the cleaning process.

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