Who?

Jayce Mountain Pork

Walter Laut, co-owner

Where?

Fredericktown, Missouri, U.S.A.

About the farm

  • 3,500-sow farrow-to-wean operation
  • Sows in large groups of about 275
  • Multi-generation family farm

Nedap solutions

Automated heat detection
Electronic Sow Feeding
Sow separation

Results

Calm sows
Forward-exit feeder design minimizes sow conflict
Improved efficiency
Easy-to-use software lets you adjust individual sow rations
Improved feeding precision
Nedap ESF feeders prevent feed theft by aggressive sows

Simple and easy to use

"We'd choose Nedap if we did it again."

The Nedap Livestock Management Electronic Sow Feeding (ESF) and sow management system helps one Missouri farm family meet their goals of taking the best possible care of their sows and building a thriving business to pass on to the next generation. The Nedap system is easy to use and helps the Lauts keep each sow comfortable and in optimal sow body condition.

“When people ask us how we feel about having an ESF barn, we say we love it,” says Walter Laut, who, with his brothers Don Jr. and Doug, are the second generation to run the farm. “We’d choose Nedap if we did it again. We like the simplicity of the Nedap system. We like the way the sows interact with it, and we like how easy it is for our staff and us to use.”

The Lauts began their transition to group housing from individual stalls in 2015 when they built Jayce Mountain Pork, a 3,500-sow farrow-to-wean facility. The Lauts manage sows in 10 pens with groups of 275 to 300 sows. Each pen has six Nedap Electronic Sow Feeders, a Nedap Sow Separation unit, and an enclosed boar pen with automated heat detection.

In coming years, the Lauts plan to transition the 1,500 sows they currently house in individual gestation stalls to group housing with the Nedap sow feeding and management system.

Nedap puts the sow’s needs first

Nedap automated feeders are designed with the sow’s needs in mind. This system allows sows to eat as quickly as they want without interruption. When a sow enters a feeder, a gate locks behind her, preventing any other sows from biting or shoving her while she eats.

“We like how the sows can eat at any time they want,” Walt says. “As long as they don’t go over their feed budget, they can eat as much as they want at one sitting. It’s a very simple system that allows the sow to move through at her own pace.”

The Nedap program is capable of feeding two sow diets. The management team sets a 24-hour feed budget with the appropriate diet for each sow based on her body condition and stage of gestation. The system supplies the feed portions while she eats, rather than dumping her whole ration when she starts. That way, if she doesn’t eat her full ration, her remaining allotment will be waiting when she comes back through the feeder.

“The majority of the sows eat their 24-hour ration the first time they go through the feeder every day,” Donnie says. “But, depending on how they feel, they can go through it five times if they want. It’s really up to them. They can just flow through the feeders when they want. When their ration is gone, they’re done for the day until the clock turns around.”

The system does not let any sow hog a feeder. If a sow stands in the feeder too long without eating, the entrance gate opens, and another sow can enter. This keeps things moving so every sow has plenty time to get through a feeder every day.

Comfortable sows are productive sows

How Nedap ESF keeps sows calm

It’s not by chance the sows at Jayce Mountain Pork are calm and relaxed. The Nedap feeder is designed to minimize sow aggression and support a productive atmosphere. It starts with the forward exit, which directs sow traffic one way through the pen. When a sow is finished eating, she steps forward, away from the group waiting to eat. She has no direct contact with sows waiting to eat.

Additionally, the pen is designed so the sow cannot immediately access the feeder entrance after eating. This technique has been proven for decades to minimize sow injury and stress.

The only way for her to return to the feeder entrance is to take a long walk past the waterers, the boar pen and the resting areas where other sows are sleeping. This lap, often called the “horseshoe” or “racetrack,” distracts the sow from the urge to guard the feeder and keeps her from developing bad habits.

“They don’t waste a lot of time just making the loop,” Donnie says. “Once they go through the feeder and eat their feed, they’re usually done for the day. They just want to find a spot and lie down.”

Sows sleep next to each other in a group sow gestation pen with the Nedap sow management system

No more and no less

Maintain optimal sow body condition

In the lunch room at Jayce Mountain Pork is a black-and-white photo of two of the first sows the Lauts ever owned, smiling for the camera, circa 1970. They traded a dining set to the neighbor for the pigs.

The scope of the operation has changed, but the Lauts still want to care for each sow as an individual. They work to ensure each sow is comfortable, healthy and correctly fed to her own needs. Nedap gives them tools they can use to achieve the goals of supporting sows’ well-being as well as herd productivity.

“With Nedap ESF, you can individually feed and take care of each one of these sows in a pen of 300,” says Donnie Laut, sow barn manager and grandson of farm founder Don Laut, Sr. “The system gives you a multitude of information anytime you want it and helps us keep each individual in optimal sow body condition.”

The Nedap program generates easy-to-read reports daily and sends alerts to barn management when certain sows need attention. The Jayce Mountain team knows when a sow hasn’t eaten her full ration or hasn’t eaten at all.

“This helps us focus our time on sows that need our attention,” Walt says. “We check on any sows the system has flagged, and, if we need to, we get them up to the waterers and feeders. Knowing they haven’t eaten gives us a heads up that something could be wrong.”

Nedap eliminates feed waste

Increased precision is one of the biggest benefits the team at Jayce Mountain Pork has seen since they transitioned to group sow gestation pens with Nedap Electronic Sow Feeding (ESF). The change is the result of two things:

  • Nedap ESF allows each sow to access only the feed allotted to her. Sows cannot steal feed from others in this system.
  • Nedap ESF delivers customized rations to each sow. It also measures and records the amount she eats.

“The ability to feed a single animal in a large group has been one of the main benefits we’ve seen with the Nedap ESF system,” Walt says. “We can be confident each sow is getting the feed we want her to get. No more and no less.”

Individual sow management in group sow housing

Do you want to combine the potential benefits of group gestation pens with precision feeding? What would electronic sow feeding with sow separation and heat detection look like on your farm?

Part of your complete barn management system

Fast and accurate

Conveniently find sows within your large group pen