You don’t get an opportunity to tour confinement hog buildings every day. Biosecurity measures are tight on most hog farms, and rightfully so. However, Wally Linneweber, Vincennes, Ind., recently offered a chance to tour his new wean-to-finish contract feeding barn. He made the offer because there were no pigs in the building yet. Everything was ready, and 3-week-old pigs were days away from delivery.
The 340-foot-long barn will hold 4,400 pigs — 2,200 on each half of the building. Once pigs enter, they don’t leave until they’re ready for market, usually tipping the scales at 300 pounds or more.
This isn’t Linneweber’s first rodeo. In fact, he used to raise sows and pigs, starting with simple facilities and often feeding sows outside. He moved to confinement buildings many years ago. Linneweber was named a Master Farmer in 1991, and has been featured on the cover of Indiana Prairie Farmer twice over the years.
Many times during the tour, Linneweber stopped and explained a piece of technology included in the building. Sometimes it had been used in the industry for a while, sometimes not. A few of the items are things Linneweber and his family dreamed up based on what they’ve seen work or not work in the past on their own farm.
You might say this new building has Linneweber’s finishing touches on it. They’re based on a long career spent raising hogs on the family farm.
“We don’t have gutters on buildings, for example,” he says. “We’ve learned by experience that if you place gravel around the outside of the building, with a tile line buried underneath, and let water run off into the gravel and soak into the tile, you have far less problems than trying to maintain gutters.”
Why build now?
Linneweber has already spent a long career in the hog business. Why invest well over a million dollars in a contract-feeding hog confinement building? “It’s really for the next generation,” he says. “My son and son-in-law will benefit from it. We’re paid for providing space, and the building will pay for itself over time.”
Riverview Farms, Orleans, Ind., supplies and owns the pigs the Linneweber family will raise. This large operation contracts with multiple producers to raise different species of livestock. They provide and deliver feed and haul away market hogs.
“Our job is to take care of them,” Linneweber says. “This building will make it much easier to do that than when we started raising pigs.”
Check out the slideshow to see photos of the new facility.