"When the babies leave the farrowing house, they have a lot of weight on them"
New Athens, USA
About the farm
- Farrowing operation
- 3.000 sows
Changing perceptions of what technology can mean to a pig barn
Nedap Farrowing Feeding technology helps Illinois farmer elevate farrowing barn productivity and efficiency
Jared Schilling was intrigued by the opportunities it offers to precisely feed sows and access more data. But his positive impression grew even stronger when he installed Nedap’s Farrowing Feeding system on his 3,000-sow farm in Illinois.
“Nedap technology gives you precise data on each animal that you don’t get when you ad-lib or drop feed,” he says. “That precise data is a big benefit.”
He also likes that the system is so dialed in to what’s happening on an individual animal basis, it sends an alarm when one sow doesn’t eat. And this attention to detail means sows get the care they need when they need it.
“With Nedap technology’s remote monitoring capabilities, we felt comfortable having other people manage the system, but I can peek in any time to see what’s going on,” he says. “Nedap technology changed my perception of what can be done, in terms of technology in a pig barn.”
Easy to use
Schilling also credits the system for helping attract a tech-savvy labor force to provide quality care for his pigs. At the same time, the technology is easy to use.
Mackenzie Otten, New Back Forty Farm barn manager, says the user-friendly technology means peace of mind since she and her team can check on the sows in their care at any time from anywhere. Mobile and tablet-friendly software allow the team to access data whether they are in the barn or off-farm, meaning they don’t need to be tied to the office computer to monitor sows’ feed consumption.
“Everything can be controlled from your phone,” she explains. “You can go home and still check to see if things are running properly. The Nedap farrowing feeders have improved how we feed our sows because we know sows are being fed, we know how much they are being fed and we’re not wasting feed. And sows can tell us what they need.”
The Nedap software’s excellent visual cues help all employees see, “this sow needs more feed, or this sow does not,” Otten adds, making training and sow feed management as straightforward as possible.
Thanks to the ease of the system, Tori Otten, pig caretaker at New Back Forty Farm, was handling feed scheduling within a week of starting her role at the farm.
The system eliminates any hand-feeding of sows, ensuring more accurate and consistent ration delivery. Plus, since feeding is scheduled electronically, it is much less labor-intensive than other feed delivery systems.
Nedap helps reduce feed waste
The ability to deliver feed to each sow and her exact nutritional needs without overfeeding puts producers in greater control and helps lower input costs.
For instance, Nedap’s automated feeding technology can help cut feed waste, which accounts for up to 70% of pork production expenses. Each sow receives the exact amount of feed she needs, and users can monitor individual sows to ensure she’s eating properly. Additionally, the system’s low-stress environment encourages strong feed consumption.
Pig farms report up to 20% feed savings compared to stalls with Nedap’s Electronic Sow Feeding technology.
Plus, keeping sow feed intake strong during lactation can have multiple positive impacts on individual and whole-herd performance.
Tori Otten notes, “When the babies leave the farrowing house, they look really good, they have a lot of weight on them because the lactating sows are well-fed.”
That’s because optimal feed intake during lactation supports milk production, which can translate into higher weaning weights and increased litter size. A study by North Carolina State University showed every 1-pound increase in average daily feed intake during lactation resulted in:
- Increased litter weaning weight by 8.6 pounds
- Increased the number born alive in the subsequent parity by 0.32 piglets.
Also, Nedap technology helps improve overall sow body condition for faster farrowing recovery and quick rebreeding, improving efficiency throughout the farm.
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