"Nedap is providing advanced technology with options to provide detailed individual feeding strategies."
Aleix Ramon, Co-owner, Farm Ramon
Agramunt, Lleida, Spain
About the farm
- 1,000 sows
- Multi-generational family farm
- One of first farms in Spain to use Nedap ESF
Precision for sows in all phases of production
Gestation and Farrowing Feeding on Farm Ramon
Farm Ramon, located in Agramunt, Lleida was one of the first in Spain to install the Nedap Farrowing Feeding system distributed by Nedap dealer, Agrogi. The farm also trusted Nedap to help with the transition from gestation crates to group gestation with the Nedap Electronic Sow Feeding system.
Following the path of their father and uncle, Aleix Ramon and his brother Ovidi took over the production side of the farm. The brothers focus on managing production costs and using technology to stay competitive as independent producers in the current and future pork markets, Aleix Ramon says.
Individual care within groups
The team at Farm Ramon carries out detailed and continuous observation and follow-up on every animal. Every sow is body-conditioned at breeding and three times during her production cycle. (At weaning, 30 days post-breeding and when entering the farrowing house).
Ramon uses the Nedap platform in multiple ways to find the best strategies for every situation. He develops feeding strategies depending on the time of year, sow parity, body condition and more. Once the parameters for these strategies are entered into the computer, applying them is simple. For example, he can direct the system to make gradual, precise changes in rations over periods of time without adding labor cost. He also can use the system to manage multiple feed diets. The farm uses one feed for gilts and young sows and another feed for older sows. The Nedap ESF technology helps employees feed the two rations correctly and transition smoothly between the two when sows move to their second parity.
Another Nedap application the farm uses is sow separation, which identifies and marks sows needing attention. The system marks sows based on the parameters the management team enters into the system such as when sows eat below target intakes, need vaccinations or need to be walked to farrowing. Automatically identifying sows makes it faster and easier for employees to care for individuals within the group.
As a key part of this strategy of individual care, the Nedap system monitors and reports the feed consumption of each group and each animal. It alerts management when a sow’s feed intake does not reach the amount set for her. This tool helps the producer respond earlier to address what might be wrong with the sow, if anything. Management can access this information remotely, which gives them a lot of flexibility.
Precision with Nedap Farrowing Feeding
The Ramon Farm has been a pioneer in the use of the Nedap Farrowing Feeding system. This system allows the farm to define feeding strategies according to criteria including days post-farrowing, sow body condition, sow parity, number of suckling piglets and seasonality. In particular, this system works by providing multiple small meals to reach a sow’s total ration. This style of feeding helps support overall feed intake, especially in this area of hot summers where feed consumption in the farrowing house can be compromised.
One of Ramon’s concerns before using the system was the possibility of increasing piglet mortality because the sow might crush more piglets if she were getting up more often to eat. Now that the system is in use, Ramon has said piglet mortality has not increased. So far, Ramon has observed farrowing stalls with Nedap Farrowing Feeding have 5 percent less piglet mortality and heavier weaning weights.
Just like in the gestation pens, the Nedap system allows feeding curve modifications in the farrowing room to be made directly from a smart phone or a tablet.
“Nedap is providing advanced technology at software level, with options to provide detailed individual feeding strategies,” Ramon says. “The program is intuitive, and the equipment is designed for a demanding environment such as the farm.”
The equipment has proven to be reliable and sound with few breakdowns, the majority of which are easily managed by the maintenance staff, Ramon says.
When they were asked what they would change about the farm’s design, Ramon said he would like to the size of the farrowing space by building one farrowing pen for every two of the current pens. Considering that the farm is already achieving an average of 16.5 born alive piglets, with ambitious goals and clear objectives of continuous improvement in their production, it is easy to understand their desire for bigger farrowing pens.Learn more about farrowing feeding