Facility Description

The SRTC is an AAALAC accredited facility that houses a 250-sow breeding herd, with a total capacity of over 1,500 pigs.  The center includes four animal wings, an education wing and a core support area with surgery and laboratory space; totaling over 40,000 sq.ft.

Meeting Space / Classroom
  • • Seating capacity for 40 people attending classes, workshops or committee meetings.
  • • Standing room to accommodate two busloads of visitors on a tour.
  • • Large windows allow visitors to view animals and service areas and interact with the tour guide in animal areas.
Gestation Wing

The gestation wing houses the breeding herd.  Gilts enter from finishing rooms at 6 months of age to enhance sexual development.  Gilts and sows are bred by artificial insemination with semen collected from boars within the center.  Bred sows and gilts remain in the gestation wing until 3 days prior to farrowing.

Farrowing Wing

Gestating sows enter these rooms 3 days prior to farrowing.  Piglets typically nurse the sow for 18 to 24 days and then are weaned into the nursery rooms.  Sows return to gestation for rebreeding.  The farrowing wing has 4 rooms with 12 crates per room.  Creates include a 7’x2’ stall within a 9’ x 5’ pen that has a front creep area for piglets.

NurseryWing

The nursery houses pigs from weaning until they are approximately 15 kg (33 lb. at 7 weeks of age).  The nursery wing has 5 rooms with 24 pens per room.  Each room includes 4 rows of 6 pens (3’x5’ each).

Fininshing Wing

Pigs are housed in finishing rooms from 15 kg to a market weight of 120 kg (264 lb).  The finishing wing consists of 5 rooms with 16 pens per room.  Each room includes 2 rows of 8 pens (4.5’ x 10’ each).  Floor in 3 rooms are partially slatted, 75% concrete slats and 25% solid concrete.  Floors in 2 rooms have total slats to allow flexible pen arrangements.  The finishing area also includes a two room wing with 24 pens per room.  Each room includes 2 rows of 12 pens (5’ x 11.5’ each).

Ventilation System

The facility operates a negative pressure mechanical ventilation system.  Fresh air enters the room in ceiling baffles and exits by exhaust fans.  The temperatures of the animal rooms are controlled by a panel located in the hallways outside of the room, with a temperature sensor inside the room.  Each room contains at least 1 gas heater and at least 3 exhaust fans.  The sources of heat are the natural gas heaters, infrared heat lamps, and/or radiant heat from the animals.  The sources of cooling are inlet air (regulated by the exhaust fans and baffles) and misters (excluding nursery and farrowing rooms).  Once the user has set the desired temperature, the controller determines the fan power, fan speed, heat power, and mister power.  Each room has three phases of fans (minimal, intermediate, and summer); all are exhaust fans (negative pressure inside the animal rooms).  The minimal fans (also called pit fans) run continuously; the fans and motors are located outside of the building with 8” or 10” perforated PVC running under the floor between the bottom of the pit floor and slats.  The intermediate and summer fans are variable speed fans built into the wall, controlled by the Del-Air controller.  The fans run to maintain the temperature that is set on the controller.  Fans are turned-on, shut-off, speed increased, and speed decreased to adjust for changes in the ambient temperatures or for user set-point changes on the controller.

Manure Handling

Waste is removed from the animal space by an under-floor flush system.  Tanks flush several times per day flushing manure down gutters beneath animal pens into a sump.  Manure flows by gravity to first-stage settling basin where solids separate from liquid in a passive system, requiring little operator input.  Water form first-stage basins overflow to the larger second-stage pond.  Four solids settling basin are provided.  One basin is dedicated to the Annex barn (barn scraper system – no recycled waste water).  Manure from the main research facility will discharge to Bay 1, where it will flow through Bay 2, then Bay 3 for solids removal.   Water levels will be maintained and are adjustable by a standpipe in Bay 3 and in the Annex Bay.  The Basins will receive manure, settle solids, and discharge sediment-free water to the large holding pond for storage or for re-use in the flushing system. 

The Settling Basins are emptied every six months.  Liquid can be decanted and moved by gravity to the large holding pond.  The remaining manure in the basins containing greater solids is pumped into tankers and land applied per approved 590 Nutrient Management Plan. 

The combination of flush and ventilation systems provides an environment with minimal odor and helps maintain animal health.

Inspections

The facility, animal users and oversight committees are evaluated routinely by campus, federal, and voluntary programs.  These inspections include:

  • UW Campus Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC)
Vaccination Program

The only animals vaccinated in the facility are the breeding animals.  At maturity (6 months of age) the breeding stock are vaccinated and boosted twice a year with a combinations vaccine to prevent reproductive failure caused by the following diseases:

  • • Parvovirus
  • • Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae
  • • 5-way Lepto (L. canicola, L. grippotyphosa, L. hardjo, L. icterohaemorrhagiae, and L. pomona)
Animal Health & Biosecurity

Access to the facility is strictly controlled to limit risks of introducing diseases to the herd.  Animals can only enter the center if derived by cesarean section.  Pigs that leave the building cannot return.  Workers, students and visitors must shower before entering the animal and support areas.  These measures allow the facility to operate as a specific pathogen free facility to prevent specific diseases and parasites from entering the herd.  Animals are provided for research and teaching without the complicating presence of diseases. The specific diseases and parasites that this policy is designed to prevent include atrophic rhinitis (AR or PAR), Mycoplasma Hyopneumoniae (M-Hyo) infection, Swine dysentery (SD), lice, mange, and internal parasites. This SPF facility has been able to maintain a Naïve herd (no antibodies) for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) virus, Transmissible Gastroenteritis (TGE), Brucellosis, and Pseudorabies (PRV).