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.