The team at Spring Lake Pork near Curryville, Missouri has recognized an improvement in sow performance since installing the Nedap ESF system with automated heat detection and sow separation.
General Manager Brandon Glenn attributes some of that improvement to the precision of electronic sow feeding.
“The animals are fed more effectively with ESF because you have a computer program that sets everything up. There’s no human error,” Glenn says. “There’s no guessing on the drop adjustment as you would see in a stall barn.
“From our experience, our conception rates have not been reduced by ESF. In our situation, particularly, they’ve actually increased.”
Another thing the team appreciates about the Nedap ESF system is the calmness of the sows in the large group pens. For example, sows typically don’t react when Glenn enters the barn or the pen, he says.
“The thing I like about ESF the most is when I walk in at midnight or 1 o’clock in the morning to do a pen check, the animals don’t get up,” Glenn says. “They do not associate me with their feed, so there’s no noise.”
Spring Lake Pork owner Jerry Epperson encourages all pork producers to take an opportunity to observe sow behavior in an ESF pen.
“I think producers need to get to a building and visit it and see the animals up close,” Epperson says. “They will be impressed with the way the animals are taken care of, the calmness of the pen and the lack of fighting between sows.”