Paul Bradley

Farm manager at Ermine Farms


Waddingham, UK

About the farm

  • 2200 sows
  • Nedap system in use since 1998
  • 600 dry sows in two dynamic groups

Nedap solutions

Electronic Sow Feeding
Farrowing Feeding


Average feed per sow down
From 7.3 kilos to 6.8 kilos
Improved health
Sows in better condition at weaning
Sows are earlier in heat
Inseminated a day earlier

Computerised Farrowing Feeding saves time and feed

“Since October 2015, I save half a kilo of feed per sow every day.” Farm manager Paul Bradley already has half a year experience with Nedap Farrowing and Breeding Stall Feeding at Waddingham Grange farm. “The system reduces labour and initial results indicate potentially better fertility.”

Paul Bradley is farm manager at one of the three locations of Ermine Farms owner Meryl Ward, a third generation pig breeding and rearing enterprise, with 2,200 sows. At Waddingham Grange Farm since 1998 Nedap Electronic Sow Feeders have been used successfully feeding 600 dry sows in two dynamic groups.

Paul Bradley:

"Less time for feeding, more for animal care"

At Ermine Farms innovation is a constant process. One of the issues that needed attention was the feeding of the sows in the farrowing house. Previously sows were hand fed twice a day, based on a feed curve established using an older, automated system. This was very labour intensive and required staff to measure different amounts to different sows.

The computerised Nedap Farrowing and Breeding Stall Feeding system saves labour. The system does the job so that Paul and his crew can pay more attention to the care of the piglets and sows.

Often but effortless feeding

The frequent feeding of the sows is effortless. The manager can programme the system to divide the ration over a number of meals per day. “You indicate the number of times you want to distribute the feed, and you can also specify how big each meal should be (in percentages). The feeding computer then calculates how many kilos to dispense per serving. By looking at the sow I try to adapt the feeding as much as possible to the needs of the sow. At the moment I start with feeding three times daily, the day after birth. On day 15 I switch to 4 times a day and on day 20, to 5 times daily.”

Paul walks through the farrowing stable once a day during feeding time checking the feed dispensers. If necessary he adjusts the feed amount for an individual sow. That can be done via an app on his smartphone or later on the computer.

Paul Bradley

"Save half a kilo of feed per day"

Before the sows at the end of the nursing period got a twice daily meal of 5 kilos of food. However not all the sows ate this food immediately and wastage was a problem, perhaps one kilogram or more per day according to Paul.

Since installing the system that feed waste has been almost eliminated. As a result Paul has started to feed less. The maximum feed amount has dropped from 10 to 9 kilos per day for the older sows, however if needed this can be easily adjusted depending on the number of piglets and their condition.

Averaged over the entire lactation sows get half a kilo less feed per day. “With the older sows the average was 7.3 kilos per day” comments Paul: “Now it is 6.8 kilos per day, and for the gilts 6.3 kilos per day.”

"Eating calmer, drink more"

The sows eat the food much better, since the installation of the Nedap Farrowing Feeding. Particularly as the feed falls in small portions into the feeding trough. As a result the sows keep the through clean. And because they take more time to eat they also drink more. That will be favourable for the milk production and quality of the piglets.


  • Average feed per sow down from 7.3 kilos to 6.8 kilos
  • Sows in better condition at weaning
  • Sows are earlier in heat, inseminated a day earlier

"Fertility is already better"

It is early days to tell what effects the better feeding of the farrowing sows will have. With the sows in better condition at weaning, it will still take almost five months before results can be seen with the next litter.

Initial benefits of the improved feed intake are already noticeable.  According to Paul, “The better feeding of the sows has already had a positive influence on fertility. Sows are earlier in heat and they are inseminated a day earlier. This should have a positive effect on the number of live born piglets. So I think that we will get significantly better results with the Farrowing Feeding System.”

Paul continues to carefully follow the diet of the farrowing sows. “What matters is that the sows eat well and produce good milk. Then they can wean a lot of piglets. My aim is currently 12.3 weaned and that number must improve further. To achieve this sows must be kept in good condition because this is important for the next litter, and that now starts in the farrowing pen.”