New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
Emergencies & Appointments:
Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA
Upside Potential of ESF

Upside Potential of ESF

ESF offers several distinguishing features compared with other alternatives to the gestation stall. Our work has identified a variety of opportunities associated with ESF for the improvement of sow herd nutrition and management. This includes:

  • Improved feed utilization by the reduction of feed needed to maintain individual animal body condition
  • Better matching of feed delivered to changing nutritional needs of sows during gestation through the use of software-controlled feeding curves
  • Automated control of gilt estrus via the delivery of Matrix to selected individual animals feeding in the ESF station
  • A practical solution to regulating the amount and timing of a feedback program in pen gestation to stimulate immunization against autogenous pathogens

The electronic identification of the sows via a radio-frequency identification tag also opens the door for additional digital management of the herd such as spray marking of animals requiring vaccination or selection of animals to move to farrowing.

Based on these opportunities, we see ESF as perhaps the only alternative to the gestation stall that promises progress in how we will manage pregnant sows in the 21st century.

Swine Teaching & Research

For more information:
Cheryl O'Sullivan
Ph: 610-925-6203

Media requests:
Hannah Kleckner
Ph: 610-925-6241


Our work has focused on the implementation of ESF on commercial farms in the U.S. and Canada.

  • We have employed a variety of approaches to ESF including static versus dynamic pens and pre- versus post-implantation group formation.
  • These choices were dictated by farm-specific details, and none were found to preclude outstanding production.
  • Successful implementation of ESF cannot be captured without some forethought on how the barn will be staffed and how staff will be trained. In the end people have the biggest impact on the outcome.
  • We see ESF as an important and readily implementable alternative to the gestation stall that offers a tool for producers to advance the management of their sow herds.

Want to Learn More About ESF?

Contact the Swine Center
Cheryl O'Sullivan
Phone: 610-925-6203