A sector with a promising future
In 2018 there were 2127 hog producers in Quebec, with a production volume of about 7 million animals. With $1.6 billion in exports, hog production represents one of the most important agri-food industries in Quebec.
In 2017, Quebec pork exports accounted for 42% of Canadian exports, leading Quebec to be the first exporter of pork in Canada. Quebec pork is exported towards more than 70 countries, the main trading partners being the United States, Japan and China.
Québec therefore occupies a privileged position within the Canadian pork industry and is positioned as a quality partner on the international scene. Leaving aside the temporary problems related to Chinese-Canadian political frictions regarding pork exports to China, it is clear that the pork industry has significant growth potential.
Manure management and its impact on the economic development of hog farms
While succession seems to be assured on livestock farms, which have technology that is increasingly adapted to production requirements, farmers are facing constraints that affect their growth potential.
These constraints are directly related to manure management.
Two main aspects are to be considered:
1- Manure storage
Livestock farmers need to invest in the construction of manure pits. These pits also require a pumping system. The storage structure should preferably be built in reinforced concrete and have an independent drain on its outer perimeter to lower the groundwater level and to check that it is watertight. The pits may be open-air or covered. Covering the pit will certainly optimize storage costs but requires a significant prior investment. In a logic of development of the operation, the commissioning of additional pits will have to be considered. In this case, there may be financial issues and a lack of space.
2- Manure spreading
The most important organizational and financial issues are to have access to the land to spread manure. It is indeed more and more difficult to access new plots of land. This constraint is compounded by problems of logistics, organization, (non-productive) time and therefore unproductive costs. These problems are the result of the progressive remoteness over the years of the spreading areas. These aspects hamper the long-term development of farms.
Solugen, a partner role
One solution to solve the problem of this weak link in the chain of the pork industry is the slurry treatment system proposed by Solugen. Solugen’s technology makes it possible to limit the need for several slurry pits and solves the problematic of transporting slurry to the land for spreading, while at the same time returning pure water and reusable fertilizers that becomes a source of additional income.
A pit smaller than conventional pits and a small building to house the water treatment unit are sufficient, leaving the farmer the possibility of increasing its productivity (by adding production halls) on an area initially intended for several conventional pits.
As a result, it is no longer necessary to look for new land to spread one’s manure, and therefore logistics of transporting the manure are considerably reduced.
In addition to substantial time saving, the benefits include general costs reduction and, above all, growth perspectives