Agricultural Technology New In 2017
As 2017 is coming to an end, it’s a fitting time to look back at some of the new innovations that Dwyer Manufacturing has done and then a number of new innovations from the world wide Agricultural Industry.
Dwyer Manufacturing’s new designs/products for 2017
High Moisture Corn Surge Bin To solve a common problem on farms feeding high moisture corn, a low cost surge bin that will hold and unload ground high moisture corn was designed and built. An all stainless steel hopper is fastened under a vertical poly tank with a simple sweep on the bottom to keep the material flowing. A heavy duty motor and gearbox run the sweep and a flex or rigid auger takes the material away.
Organic/Humane Farrowing Pen With the increasing interest in organic pork production, Dwyer Mfg has put together an organic / humane farrowing pen. The pen will allow the sow and piglets ample room to move around and nest in the supplied straw or shavings. To insure the safety of the farm staff, containment sides can be swung around to keep the sow from injuring workers during periods of piglet management.
Slat Gap Cover Converting a sow or finishing barn to an organic system means that the solid area needs to increase from a conventional system. Pouring another layer of concrete over fully slatted floors can be time consuming and problematic depending on the barn design. Another option is using a Slat Gap Cover. The plastic Slat Gap Cover pieces are are pushed into the openings of the slat. While being easy to cut to length and quick to push into place, Slat Gap Covers are extremely difficult to remove and stand up to everyday conditions in a pig barn very well.
International Agricultural Innovation
By no means is this a complete list of world wide Ag innovation, just a number of items that have caught my eye.
Drone Crop Scouting
Drone technology has advanced quickly in the last 12 months. Many of the units now almost fly themselves. Gone are the days of crashing into trees and buildings since the modern drones have sensors (directional and altitude) that make them much easier to operate.
With the better hardware comes increased value in what they can do. Basic areal photography and video can be very useful. A drone will allow you to scout general condition of your crop or record on video of how much of your field was hit by frost and then use that video recording to report to your crop insurance agent to make the decision of replanting or not much more timely.
Thermal imagery can tell you where weeds patches are or where a drainage tile is broken.
More information from a Canadian company click HERE
If nothing else, you can use this information to convince your wife why you really need to get a drone because it will make you money.
Driver-less Tractors and Field-Bots
With big acreage fields, the autonomous tractor could be a piece of equipment your children will consider. With so many hours just sitting in your conventional or GPS guided tractor, why bother sitting there at all? With the proper setup and open fields, this type of equipment can do a precise job while you do something more meaningful.
See CaseIH video on this technology HERE.
For smaller more precise farming, a field bot could be the solution. Robot precision farming not only promises to increase yields by optimizing growth and harvesting processes, but can also lead to a reduction in fertilizer and herbicide usage and improve soil quality through more targeted interventions.
“We are starting to see more and more robots on the farm, doing farm tasks and eventually, we are going to get to the stage where you see semi-automated or even fully automated farms happening.”
Salah Sukkarieh, director of research and innovation, Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR)
Polystyrene Concrete Blocks
While maybe not the newest technology on the list, it seems to be gaining steam as new construction techniques are being developed to use concrete that has recycled plastics in it.
Not only does it reduce landfill, the concrete is given some insulating properties while keeping its strength and reducing weight. Maybe these will be used in pig barns some day.
For more information click HERE
Farm Data Management
Having more data shouldn’t be anyone’s goal, but turning that data into information that will allow you to farm smarter and more profitable is a worthy task.
Modern tractors, planting, fertilizing and harvesting equipment all have technology built into them to not only control the machine but also to collect multiple streams of data.
Numerous companies are emerging that have developed software that takes that data and transforms it into useful information in the form of crops maps & charts to help you make a plan to maximize next year’s cropping plan.
Topcon is one such company. Get information on them HERE Granular is another company that pulls your whole farm operation’s information together. Information video HERE
On any farm, the investment in equipment to prepare the land, to plant, to tend to the crop and to harvest the crop can be huge. With so much money tied up into equipment, you want it to run at it’s peak each and every day without major breakdowns. Equipment manufactu
rers have been adding sensors onto engines to keep track of hours of use to schedule regular maintenance. With remote access to the tractors logistics, a mechanic from miles away can access and diagnose the problem to get it running quickly.
For information on the John Deere system click HERE
Scanning Animals in a Variety of Ways
1. In the pig barn, the highest mortality rate is in the farrowing crate with many of those deaths being caused by crushing by the sow. Tending to the well being of the sow is a good start to reducing the mortality number caused by the sow. Brown-Brandl and a team of scientists from China, Iowa Select Farms and Iowa State University developed a system to automatically process and analyse 3-D images of sows. A camera mounted over birthing crates captures images to determine a sow’s behaviour and posture: if she’s eating, drinking, standing, sitting, or lying down. The system, which accurately classifies behaviour, could potentially help prevent sows from crushing their piglets. See the whole article HERE
2. Regular ultrasound checks for gilt back fat and muscle scores is a common job but with a skittish animal, it can be a dangerous job too. A safer method is being used at a Hycor facility in France developed by Biotronics. Basically, it’s a unit that the gilts walk into and are lifted up to immobilize them to allow
the technician to safely and accurately scan for muscle and back fat measurements. To read an article on the machine and concept click HERE. To see the machine itself click for video HERE.
Growing Meat in a Lab
With conflicting tasks such as feeding the world’s population ever increasing desire for meat and the need to treat our environment better, one solution is growing meat in a laboratory.
Here is the “how to” part taken from an article in ABC Science News. See complete article HERE
The science of growing meat
The process starts with taking a small biopsy from a cow to harvest stem cells from muscle tissue.
“Our bodies have stem cells just sitting there waiting to repair tissue,” Professor Post says.
“If our muscle gets injured, these stem cells start to proliferate and form muscle tissue … instead of scar tissue. We are basically using that mechanism to create muscle tissue outside of the body.”
The extracted stem cells are then encouraged to proliferate in a nutrient rich, blood-infused broth.
Placed in a collagen gel, muscle cells have a unique ability to self organise into muscle fibre — contracting, maturing, strengthening and thickening over a few weeks.
Combine 10,000 of these muscle fibers, massage them with some salt, add breadcrumbs, spices — and dinner’s served — you have a hamburger.
Add fat tissue, and you have something that tastes even more like the meat you’d carve off a cow to serve with chips and salad.
In the four years since their prototype was made public, Professor Post’s team has been hard at work.
“We have transformed the culture system into something that can be scaled [up for industry], we have improved the protein quality, and perhaps most importantly, we have created fat tissue. Fat helps make meat tasty, and taste matters in this quest. A lot.”
I know I’d try it, would you?
From all of us to you and your family, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
November 16. 2017
Written by Gilbert VandenHeuvel
How To Conduct On-Farm Swine Feed Trials
A fact that we know all too well is: Feed is the single highest cost to grow a pig from weaning to market weights. Those who can make each feed dollar count will be more successful then those that don’t. Dwyer Manufacturing succeeds when you succeed. Feel free to contact us to design solutions to help you weigh your pigs and/or feed. If you need a simple pig scale or a central group weighing platform, we can get it done.
Remember that even a small improvement in feed conversion or average daily gain will quickly pay for the time and equipment needed to conduct an accurate feed trial.
qualify that university or feed company product claims work on your farm with your pigs.
evaluate specific genetics
test different equipment on your farm
test different feed components or ration design
generate a cost of production for your farm (this isn’t necessarily a feed trial, but it should have the same methodology)
No information is better then the wrong information.
Attention to detail is vital when conducting a feed trial. If it’s done carelessly, there is a high probability that the information generated will be misleading. Decisions made from the wrong information will probably be wrong thus costing you more money then if you didn’t change anything at all.
The key to conducting a meaningful trial is to:
minimize differences in pig performance that could be caused by factors other than the feed
provide a sound basis for ensuring that the results are reputable and valid for use
compare only two differences at once.
The most practical feed trials are those conducted on grower and finisher pigs. Trials done in the sow barn are difficult to keep statistically accurate since larger numbers of sows need to be in the trial and all these sows need to be similar in genetics, parity and housing conditions.
Weigh pigs and Feed. A reliable method of weighing pigs in and out and weighing feed is a must. The pig scale can be a single animal scale or a group scale, both will work fine. It’s been my experience that an electronic group scale in a central location works the best. Once the pigs use it once, they will move easily towards it and they seem to enjoy the activity. Feed weighing can be more difficult. Computerized liquid or dry delivery system is the best way but a feed volume counter can be installed above test pens or feed can be delivered in bags or weighed feed carts. Let me repeat, if the pigs and feed are not weighed accurately then there is little sense in spending the time and effort of the trial. Find a system that works in your facility and get the trial going. If an animal needs to be pulled from the trial due to illness or dies, weigh it so the data can be adjusted and remain statistically correct. At the end of the trial, remember to subtract any feed left in the feeders from the total feed usage number.
Understand and Manage Variability or Chance Variation. No matter how well you sort the two test groups to be alike there will always be a difference in their growth performance that you can’t anticipate or control. This can range from genetics to illness to mechanical issues. Scientists will talk about coefficient of variation with this issue which get complicated quickly. For a barn trial, take care to limit variation among the test groups and repeat the trial 2 or 3 times to minimize the effect of variation on the results.
Have Adequate Replication. Having only one pen of pigs per feed type in a trial may cause misleading results. Replication is important to minimize mistakes and ensure correct conclusions. If the number of pens per feed type requirements cannot be met at one time, repeat the trial over time using successive groups of pigs. Be sure to have the same number of pens available for each feed type during each time period.
Select the Proper Pens. All the pens used in a trial must be the same size with the same environmental conditions, feeders and water supply system. Keep in mind when selecting the pens to be used that the location will not influence the trial results. Figure 2 demonstrates a reasonable pen selection.
Minimize Pig Weight, Ancestry and Gender Effects. Pigs perform differently because of their weight, ancestry and Gender. These effects must be equalized across all feed types in the trial. The number of barrows does not need to be the same as the number of gilts in a given pen; however, the ratio of barrows to gilts and total number of pigs must be the same in each pen. All pigs should be randomly assigned to pens to ensure the integrity of the experiment. Starting weight of each group should be within 5% of each other to be considered similar. If this is not the case then pigs need to relocated to bring this difference within 2%. In addition, it’s important to minimize weight variation within pens as much as possible.
Select Suitable Test Animals. It is not unusual that a pig dies during a trial, so it’s important to screen the test animals before the trial to eliminate any pigs showing signs of sickness so not to alter the results. All the pigs in the trial should share similar background. For example, they should have eaten the same type of feed, received the same vaccines and housed in the same type of barn. If pigs with dissimilar backgrounds must be used, be sure to balance these pigs on each side of the trial.
Test Feeds Concurrently. Pigs fed the control and test feeds must begin the trial on the same day. If this doesn’t happen, then there is one more variable in the trial which could negatively impact the trial results.
Determine Trial Duration. The feed trial should be long enough to reasonably collect enough data but not so long as to give other factors a chance to influence the results.
Tabulate Results and Draw Conclusions. Calculate pen averages for each of the variables in the trial, such as daily gain, feed intake, feed conversion and feed cost per kg gain. Table 3 shows results that most conclude that the test feed was better. This is not necessarily true. Let me explain why. Back in Point 2, Chance Variation was explained. With results that are this close there is a significant chance that unforeseen differences could have altered the results this amount. Results this close could have been skewed by a mixture of other factors other then feed; such as health, weighing inaccuracy and genetics. The best next step would be to repeat the trial and average the results for a more conclusive outcome.
On-farm trials involve a lot of time, effort and dedication but designed properly they help you make sound business decisions. As an added incentive, certain types of scientific research that you do to improve your business may qualify for the Canada Revenue Agency’s Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive (www.cra-arc.gc.ca/sred/) making on-farm trials well worth the investment.
Thanks to the University of Nebraska and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food as resources. To read complete paper from University of Nebraska CLICK HERE OMAF paper HERE
November 1, 2017
Modern agriculture has come to rely on augers of all types for many many jobs. We use them without even thinking about it. If you do a quick mental count on how many augers you have on your farm, and you’ll be surprised how quickly the number grows. Any idea when a metal auger were first used to move grain? Keep reading for the answer.
Here at Dwyer Manufacturing, we build custom stainless and mild steel auger systems as the job dictates.
If the product needs to go around a corner, we can supply and install a flex auger.
An ALL stainless bin unloader is build right here at Dwyer Manufacturing that is designed to keep moisture out and last a long time.
This unloader is priced right, just a little more then the galvanized version. Starts at $253 as shown in the picture
The stainless bin unloader is adaptable to 200 – 500 flex systems and 4″ & 6″ rigid augers. Rubber
seal and sealed flat washers are standard on all units to keep moisture out.
Call us with your needs and we’ll design a solution.
or CLICK HERE to visit our website for more information
History of the Auger
The first type of screw conveyor was the Archimedes’ screw, used since ancient times to pump irrigation water, circa 250 BC.
Some researchers have proposed that a “auger” was used to irrigate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. A cuneiform inscription of Assyrian King Sennacherib (704–681 BC) has been interpreted by Stephanie Dalley to describe casting water screws in bronze some 350 years earlier.
The modern grain auger of today’s farming communities was invented by Peter Pakosh. His grain mover employed a screw-type auger with a minimum of moving parts, a totally new application for this specific use. At Massey Harris (later Massey Ferguson, Brantford, Ontario), young Pakosh approached the design department in the 1940s with his auger idea, but was scolded and told that his idea was unimaginable and that once the auger aged and bent that the metal on metal would, according to a head Massey designer, “start fires all across Canada”. Pakosh, however, went on to design and build a first prototype auger in 1945, and 8 years later start selling tens of thousands under the ‘Versatile‘ name, making it the standard for modern grain augers.
Information sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screw_conveyor,
September 11, 2017
Written by Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Electronic Sow Feeding, part 3
Now that we understand the benefits of Electronic Sow Feeding in general and the specifics of the Big Dutchman Electronic Sow Feeder (ESF) it’s time to pull it all together and design a housing system / floor pattern to facilitate the ESF and treat your pregnant sows the best way possible.
The Call-Inn Pro and Call Matic Pro have been designed to fit into many building plans, including older, existing barns with difficult dimensions. The Big Dutchman ESF has a significant design advantage with the trough cover. In theory each sow would enter the ESF once or maybe twice a day. Realistically, an aggressive sow will enter the ESF many times each day if she is able to eat something each time. All ESF systems are designed to allow only a specific amount of feed per sow per day. If a sow is able to eat any left-over feed from the previous sow, she will continue to enter the ESF multiple times each day. Some systems require a longer distance between exit and entry point to limit this repeated feeding. Big Dutchman has solved this issue by covering the feeder so an aggressive sow can not get any left-over feed so she will not enter the ESF multiple times as there is no reward for doing so. This is important for barn layout because this offers greater flexibility in designing the sow housing system with no requirements to limit repeated sow entry. You will notice in the diagrams included here that the Big Dutchman ESF is simply placed along an inspection / sorting alley way.
Click here to see a video on Big Dutchman ESF in action. At the 2:15 and 9:00 mark you will notice a sow in the ESF waiting to get fed. The scanner first reads the sow’s tag and only if she has not eaten her daily allotment will the trough cover open. If she isn’t allowed any feed the cover will not open and the entry and exit doors will open. The next sow will nudge her to leave.
The following points are especially important:
sufficient space in front of the feeding station
separation of the lying and activity areas
installation of drinkers in the activity area (10-12 sows per drinker)
there needs to be areas for sows to “hide” from aggressive sows
With the two types of group sow housing, stable and dynamic groups, there are two different housing styles.
In this type of group sows are coming and going each week as sows leave to farrow and enter after breeding. This system makes best use of the space as it should be close to maximum population at all times. More aggressive activity is to be expected in this style so more attention needs to be taken to assure sows have more areas to escape from aggressive sows. Care should also be taken in designing the flooring in the activity area, around the feeder entrance. Most of the fighting will happen in this area and thus a higher chance of slipping and hurting feet.
1=small lying space, 3=activity area, 4=selection / aisle area
In a stable sow group the same sows stay together for the duration of gestation. While this type of housing system is quieter and more relaxed, thus increasing chance of higher numbers born alive, once the peaking order is established, the space isn’t used as efficiently. As sows are removed due to non-pregnancy or illness, the space usage is less then ideal. Some operations will compensate for this by over-stocking the area, but with more then 65 sows per ESF, it is possible that any timid sows will not get feed every day. Care must be taken to monitor feeding reports and install a coping tactic if this occurs.
2=large lying pens, 3=activity area, 5=inspection and driving aisle
As gilts enter the sow system, they will need to be trained to use the ESF before entering the larger group to ensure proper feed intake and no stress to the unborn litter. Since feed is involved, the gilts usually train quickly. Only a small percent will need to be culled due to refusal to enter ESF.
The layout above works for two groups of gilts, but this should be modified depending on the number of gilts entering the sow system to optimize usage of ESF. Each group is allowed access to the ESF seperatly and not allowed to come back so it’s easier to spot gilts that are timid towards the ESF.
To get more information or to design your housing layout, bring your barn measurements, sow numbers and your preferred sow group style, to us at Dwyer Manufacturing so we can assist you in realizing your goals for electronic feeding in your sow group housing system.
by: Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Big Dutchman Electronic Sow Feeder (part 2)
Our previous blog went over the history of feeding pigs all the way back to the start of domesticated pig farming.
Here we will go over the two types of Electronic Sow Feeders (ESF) available through Big Dutchman.
Our next blog will look at various group housing sow layouts / floor plans.
Call-In pro – the more economical option and the Call Matic pro – the professional option.
Both have the latest technology based on 30 years of ESF experience. Listening to and serving customers over those 30 years has made Big Dutchman one of the pioneers in the development of ESF systems.
The Call-Inn pro ESF station is ideally suited for the needs of stable, large groups of up to 65 sows. Feeding is possible with one type of dry feed and automatically adjusted to the sows’ eating speed. Thanks to an electro-pneumatically driven dispensing mechanism, the metering precision is very high. If the sow is entitled to receive feed, approx. 60 grams are dispensed into the trough. This process is repeated until the sow is no longer entitled to receive feed or until the sow leaves the station.
A pneumatic trough flap controls access to the feed trough so sows who have had their daily allotment, can not find left-over feed. This discourages them to repeatedly enter the ESF.
Each feeding station is equipped with a feed hopper supplied by the feed bin. A sensor in one of the hoppers supplying a group of stations registers when the feed level drops below a set minimum value. All feed hoppers are then immediately filled again.
The Call-Matic pro ESF station is ideally suited for use with large groups of up to 60 sows, both dynamic and stable. The sows can be fed either with two types of dry feed, automatically adjusted to the sows’ eating speed, or with liquid feed. Thanks to the modular design of the station, it is very easy to adapt it to any space requirement.
Call-Matic pro offers the option to select sows automatically. A sensor at the exit gate to the selection area registers the number of the selected pigs and prevents overstocking of the selection pen.
Liquid feeding with the ESF
The installation of the Call-Matic pro with liquid feed is particularly cost effective if other pigs are already supplied with liquid feed. When a Big Dutchman feeding system is used, the ESF system is able to communicate with the liquid feeding system control. This means the ESF system can request feed from the liquid feeding system which in turn prepares the requested feed ration and pumps it into the storage tank of the ESF system. The liquid feed circulates through a pipeline system installed above the ESF stations. If a sow that is entitled to receive feed is identified, the pneumatic low-maintenance three-way ball valve opens. Feed is dispensed into the trough over a time interval set by the farm manager. This process is repeated until the sow has received her pre-set feed allotment.
The exact amount of dispensed feed is determined by weighing the feed in the mix tank. If the stored feed mix drops below a certain minimum, the liquid feeding system receives a new request for feed. Moreover, the tank of the electronic sow feeding system returns feed which has not been consumed to the main system’s mixing tank. This ensures that the feed remains fresh and increases hygiene.
Through this method, the feeding system is constantly calibrated, thus achieving a very high metering precision during the entire feeding process.
With this liquid option, reduced feeding costs can be achieved with co-products or the use of high moisture corn as part of the sow’s ration.
Colour markers can be added to both ESF stations as an option. If the station indicates that the entering sow must be marked, the spray can is automatically activated.
An optional unit for heat detection makes identifying sows which are returning to service very simple. These can then also be marked by colour.
The station can also easily be opened in case of an emergency – thanks to the swing-type side walls.
The guiding post, fixed or pivoting, helps the sows to find the entrance of the feeding station. This makes it much easier to train gilts that are in the selection aisle to use the feeding station. The installed door can also be used by the farm manager to access the animal area for tasks such as station inspection.
The station computer has a clearly arranged display and shows important information such as the status of the sow, the daily ration, the remaining feed quantity or the number of sows which have already eaten. It operates independently from the central PC for a high functional reliability. Sows that require special attention are identified by the control system and automatically selected. The farm manager is the one to define when and why a sow needs special attention.
Another advantage is that the station computer does not have to be installed at the ESF station but can also be installed in the aisle. This makes for better accessibility (an animal-free area) so adjustments can easily be made.
In addition to the station computer it is possible to connect a separate PC which can, for example, be located in the farm office or the farm manager’s home. Both computers communicate in real time.
At first glance, group housing seems much less efficient in terms of space per sow then a standard stall system but with proper management, a group housing system can become a very efficient system.
sow condition / weight can be kept closer to ideal with the ESF feeding the proper amount every day of the week. The sows are fed precisely no matter who is staffing the barn.
with automated pregnancy testing integrated into the system, your open sow days can be reduced saving costly feed dollars and gets sows back to the breeding barn quickly.
the optional colour marking allows easy identification of specific sows for reasons such as reduced feed intake or negative pregnancy test.
When a sorting door is used, sows ready to enter the farrowing room can easily be sorted out of the group. ( as shown on right)
The sow manager can easily view any information, in summary or for individual sows, to improve productivity of the sow operation.
As the sow industry continues its journey towards group housing, automated feeding will always be in the mix.
Big Dutchman’s ESF is a proven tool with 30 years of experience.
Feel free to call us for more information.
By Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Electronic Sow Feeding Station and Group Housing as a replacement of Sow Stalls
Big Dutchman Electronic Sow Feeding Systems
A little background information:
History tells us the the pigs was domesticated in Cyprus more the 11,400 years ago. They where first hunted but over time it was noticed that if food was presented to them, the pigs would come into pens at the edge of medieval villages. From there, pigs where brought inside to avoid parasites and increase production. Productivity (thus lowering per unit costs) has been the driver for barn and equipment design and technology ever since. Sow Stalls/Crates where part of this advancement in technology . In North America the farrowing and gestation stall where developed and put into large scale production in the 60’s but crates where used in various forms for many years before this in Europe.
Sow stalls have worked well to design a low cost building, allow for individual sow feeding, allow for worker/sow interactions such as AI and produced a sow with less injuries. Disadvantages have been the lack of ability to observe mobility and lameness, stereotyped behaviors observed, lack of sow’s natural social interactions and most recently negative consumer view on sow crates.
From: Pig Progress. To see article CLICK HERE
From the initiative of consumers and food retails groups housing systems where developed first in the EU.
history of sow group housing:
Unlike stalled systems that are reasonably standardized and well-understood in the industry, there is no “standard” template for group housing systems. Lots of factors, such as pen configuration, flooring type, feeding system, nutrition program, grouping strategy, timing of grouping, pig flow, husbandry skills, genetics and others come together to influence the success of a group housing system.
Good overall articles on group housing:
There are many factors to group housing, we can’t cover them all in one blog. Today we’ll focus on feeding with a Electronic Feeding System (ESF)
Why use Electronic Sow Feeding Systems in a group housing system:
Sows in top condition, more piglets
Less feed wastage
It’s simple to apply feed strategies
Notification when animals don’t eat
Substantial noise reduction, calm and relaxed sows
Automatic heat detection, marking and separation of sows based on heat
Pig breeders that apply group housing for pregnant sows should pay attention to reducing competition around the feeding area, which may reduce aggression among the sows and minimize differences between high social and low social ranking sows.
Copyright © 2007. . Copyright 2007 Journal of Animal Science
Big Dutchman has two innovative electronic sow feeding (ESF) systems on offer: Call-Innpro and CallMaticpro. Each of these feeding systems is a perfect choice for pregnant sows kept in groups. They ideally combine the advantages of animal-friendly housing and a feeding method specially adapted to the requirements of each individual sow. For the sows, group management means more freedom to move, better health and robustness. Individual, computer-controlled feeding allows the feed supply to be matched precisely to the condition of the sow. For the farm manager, this means healthy sows, performance-related feeding and best use of the house surface area. The feeding station can also be used to select sows automatically.
Each sow is marked with a transponder ear tag. When a sow enters the feeding station, which is always open when no sow is inside the station, she passes a light barrier. As soon as the sow has entered the feeding station, the entrance gate closes. The sow is identified by the computer by means of an antenna located above the trough flap. If the sow is entitled to receive feed, the trough opens and feed is measured out in small portions. When the sow has finished eating, the trough flap closes. If the sow is not entitled to receive feed, the trough flap remains closed. The entrance gate re-opens after a set time delay if a sow does not leave the station by herself. The next sow then enters the station and automatically drives out the last sow. If a sow leaves the station even though she is still entitled to receive feed, the feeding process stops and the sow can eat her remaining share at a later point in time.
Accurate Sow Identification
Data collection and sow identification are carried out by a very reliable and small ear tag transponder, which is inserted into the sow‘s ear by means of special pliers. This passive transmitter operates battery-free. The sow is identified by means of an antenna in the trough area. The received data is transmitted to the control computer. An additional antenna is installed at the boar pen if a separate unit for heat detection is used. This antenna collects further information regarding the sow‘s state. All established ear tag types can be read, irrespective of the manufacturer.
Management of large groups (up to 60 sows/station), animal friendly and economic housing system
Individual feeding of all sows based on the current requirements of each sow for a better overall condition and healthy animals
Trough flap remains closed if the sow is not entitled to receive feed
Manual operation directly at the station is possible
Pneumatic opening of the gates; the entrance gate is always open when the station is unoccupied, which makes training gilts much easier
Solid side partitions for undisturbed feed intake
use of sound-absorbing materials to ensure a low noise level in and around the station
Big Dutchman has two different models: Call-Inn pro and the Call-Matic pro.
Our next blogs will cover the details of each of these and common layouts for group housing and feed stations including training area and sow selection.
For the complete Big Dutchman PDF file of the two feeding stations CLICK HERE
May 5, 2017
By Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Cleanliness is the First Law of Health
The goal here is to keep the animals in your care productive and healthy to help your bottom line.
Exert from U of Guelph paper written by Tokach, Goodband, DeRouchey, Dritz and Nelssen. To read whole paper CLICK HERE. This section is on page 42.
The management style of All-In, All-Out greatly improves pig performance by decreasing horizontal transfer of disease from one group of pigs to the next. The main tool to stop the transfer of disease is cleaning with the primary of lowering the dose of infectious pathogens that can be transmitted from one group of pigs to the next. Enviromental contamination is an important contributor to bacterial and viral infections. For Example, Davies (1999) found that 27% of samples obtained from a fully slatted finishing floor just prior to placement of pigs were found to be positive for salmonella. Cargill and Banhaze (1998) found that cleaning barns between groups of pigs was the most important component of all-in, all-our production.
It has been well documented that animal performance is increased in ‘clean vs dirty’ environments. Pigs reared in a dirty environment had a 10% reduction in average daily gain and 18% reduction n feed intake. as compared with pigs reared in a clean environment.
Removale of visible organic matters removes 90% of the bacteria from the environment. Another 6 – 7% of the bacteria can be removed by disinfectants and fumigation an additional 1-2%. Drying is also an important part of the process. For example, PRRS can survive in water for up to 11 days but when dried, it dies quickly. (Pirtle and Beran, 1996)
The table below shows the influence of cleaning properly between batches of pigs and also a continuous flow facility. This study does not show Feed Conversion. F:C is much better with healthy pigs since the pig uses significant amount of energy fighting infections.
All-in, All-out All-in, All-out
Cleaned Not Cleaned Continuous Flow
Average Daily Gain, grams 658 619 610
Airborne Dust, mg/m3 1.80 2.31 2.51
Respirable Particles, mg/m3 0.201 0.265 0.29
Viable Bacteria, CFU x 103/m3 132 177 201
Gram positive Bacteria, CFU x 103/m3 82 109 122
Note: CFU= Colony Forming Units
Targets of a clean room:
To reduce the disease challenge to the herd
To improve animal health, welfare and pork safety
To increase the growth and efficiency of the herd
Cleaning tips we all need to hear again
Besides having a good power washer, there are several other steps to facilitate this washing process. (To read whole article CLICK HERE)
Soaking — Soaking surfaces before washing will cut down on the amount of time needed to do a more complete job. Soaking can be achieved by placing a sprinkler system in the rooms to be washed. When soaking a trailer, you may want to just wet the entire trailer first with a moderate amount of water, then start thorough washing at one end while other surfaces have more time to soak.
Detergents — Another excellent way to maximize cleaning and minimize time spent on the chore is to use special detergents to help break down manure and other organic matter. This is the equivalent of using soap to wash your hands. You can wash your hands with plain water, but it is much quicker to use soap.
Detergents are products used to reduce surface tension and suspend particles to facilitate cleaning. They can be acidic (good for protein removal) or alkaline (good for fats). Some commercial products contain both types.
Many operations forget the value of detergents, mainly because of the added expense. In reality, most products are worth the investment not only because they cut down on labor, but also because they maximize the cleaning process and can break down bacterial biofilms (slime), which can harbor bacteria.
Hot water — Hot water can also speed up the washing process. The one disadvantage of hot water is that it can produce steam and hamper visibility, particularly in winter. The goal is to have the water hot enough to facilitate cleaning without putting employees at risk. You will not be able to have the water hot enough to kill bacteria or viruses, as these high temperatures would cause skin burns. Studies have shown that the money used to heat the water will be saved in reduced labor.
Drying time. One of the challenges with most cleaning and disinfection programs is allowing ample time for extended drying. The purpose of this downtime/drying time is so that all moisture can evaporate from the building and all its surfaces.
Water is critical for the survival of all living organisms, including viruses and bacteria. Research in the poultry industry has shown that a 48-hour downtime can dramatically reduce the clostridial environmental contamination compared to 24 hours.
Ideally, downtime in the farrowing room would be 48 to 72 hours after cleaning and disinfection. Often, that’s impossible due to pig flow and limited space. To maximize drying time, consider these options:
Allow farrowing rooms to dry overnight before moving sows into the room. Turn on the room heaters to maximize drying.
If overnight is not possible, then try to use scrapers to remove all puddles of water as a means to speed up the drying process before moving sows into the room.
Two or three times a year, plan enough time for the rooms to completely dry in order to break disease cycles before moving animals in. This is especially helpful when dealing with significant health problems in the farrowing house.
Remember, this is not an all-or-none effect. Small intervention steps add up to a more productive system.
Drying is especially critical for livestock trailers, which have been implicated as a major risk for disease transmission. This is usually not the fault of the driver, but rather due to the high-risk areas these vehicles travel to and from.
At Dwyer Manufacturing we can provide you with an easy to clean plastic slat for your weaner and farrowing barn from MIK International.
More information can be found on our website HERE.
MIK has a large selection of flooring that works for conventional production or organic systems.
Options for goat and sheep production are also available.
To see the whole lineup of plastic slats and support equipment on the MIK site click HERE
For some fun power washer videos click below
April 17, 2017
by Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Particle Size and Distribution of Particle Size Are Important.
With margins tight for hog producers, finding areas to save feed dollars is always a good thing.
In a previous Blog, feed particle size was discussed at length.
The main points where:
put feed particle size testing into your regular maintenance schedule every 1000 tonnes of feed processed.
The goal is to have your corn ground between 700 and 800 microns.
1.5% change in feed efficiency comes with every 100 micron change in particle size.
As your corn moisture changes, the screen size needs to be changed too.
That can certainly add up to lots of feed dollars saved for those who put in the effort in getting the right grinder set up properly and keeping it maintained.
Here is a link to a concise study done by Iowa State University on Particle Size on Growers and Sows. CLICK HERE
Distribution of Particle Size
Average particle size isn’t the only thing you need to look at while doing this test. Distribution of particle size in important too.
The best grind has most of the product in the 500 – 800 micron range (25 – 45 sieve size shown here) . Too much large very small or very large particles isn’t helping the feeding program. The large pieces simply go through the pig’s digestive system, hurting your Feed Conversion and the very fine particles can lead to bleeding ulcers and reduced flowability in bins and feeders. An ideal grind in this picture would have a nice Bell shape to it. Lots of product in the ideal sieve range of 25 – 45 and as little as possible on either end.
Below is a chart showing good Standard Deviation at 3.37 and a nice bell curve in the graph.
Dwyer Manufacturer offers free particle size testing with printed results to all it’s mill customers and a small fee to anyone else. Simply put a couple handfuls in the mail or drop some off the next time your in the area.
April 3, 2017
By Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Dry Feeder Management
Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence. ~Vince Lombardi
What does this Vince Lombardi quote have to do with dry feeders? No matter how hard we try, we can not entirely eliminate feed wastage from a feeder, but if we work at it, we can definitely minimize it.
The reason we have heard many presentations and seen so many articles on feed wastage at the feeder is because it’s such a big deal.
Feed costs through finishing barn = $80 per pig (source: Pork News & Views, Dec/16 Swine Budget)
Finishing barn will turn about 3 times per year. average 800 grams growth per day, 27 kg – 122 kg.
A triple double sided feeder will support 48 pigs Each year that feeder will support 144 pigs
Per year $11,520 worth of feed will go through each feeder. Per year 1% feed wastage equals $115 per feeder
Over 15 years $172,800 worth of feed will go through each feeder Over 15 years wastage of 1% equals $1,728 worth of feed per feeder
A typical 2000 head finishing barn would have 42 feeders, therefore 1% feed wastage equals $4,830 per year and $72,450 over 15 years.
The calculations above show there are significant dollars in the balance. So how do you get some of those feed dollars in your pocket?
The first step is picking a feeder that works well, not the one that costs the least. A feeder that costs a little less but doesn’t perform as well will end up costing you big $$ in the long run.
Dwyer Manufacturing offers a quality Wet/Dry Shelf feeder made by Thorp Equipment.
Long-term reliability due to heavy gauge stainless construction and simple shelf adjusting system.
The Thorp Feeder is 36″ tall, 6″ taller then other popular feeders giving it more capacity with no additional extensions to buy.
Hole spacing width of 14″ – 16″ available
Here are the basics of Feeder Management:
Daily inspection / adjustment of feeder is a must to maximize potential growth and minimize “out of feed” events so pigs continue to grow evenly without stress. Out-of-feed events can cause bowel syndrome, twisted gut, ulcers, and tail-biting all resulting in higher mortality, higher health expenses and slower ADG.
Things to look for each day are:
Mechanical issues. Mechanical problem found early are usually an easy fix
Adjustment. A poorly adjusted feeder can cause feed wastage or restrict feed available slowing down growth.
Drinkers can either plug or leak, both will reduce pig productivity
Manure in feeder is an indication of another problem. Has there been a change in the ventilation or maybe the feed has gone stale?
Points to consider:
Any change in particle size or feed ingredients will change how the feed flows through a feeder. Be ready to make adjustments to optimize the balance between growth and feed wastage.
If you have a scale available, it will pay dividends to run some on-farm trials with different feeders and/or varied adjustments.
Below is an example of a simple trial done with the goal of comparing the relationship of ADG and F/G at different feeder settings. The feeders where adjusted to 3 different settings over the whole growth period in a finishing barn.
The results are interesting but to know your facility’s results, you need to do this sort of thing for yourself. A little time spent now can generate information that will improve production and put dollars in your pockets.
Feeder test information Source : http://www.thepigsite.com/articles/2747/feeding-and-feeder-management-influences-on-feed-efficiency/
March 1, 2017
By Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Dwyer Manufacturing is proud to offer MIK Flooring to dairy farmers for quality milk parlour flooring and calf individual and group pens.
Milking Parlour Flooring
The TRAPPER panel offers milking farmers a safe and ergonomic workplace arrangement in addition to easy use and cleaning. The STEPPER has a special design with a knobbed surface structure that guarantees better grip, for safer working conditions.
TRAPPER (Green) offers milkers welcome health care during the working day in addition to step safety and easy cleaning. Size: 800 mm x 400 mm / 31.5″ x 15.75″
Size: 800 mm x 400 mm / 31.5″ x 15.75″
Slit Width: 14 mm / 0.55″
Amount of opening: 35%
Animal weight: 200 kg / 440 lb
STEPPER’S (Blue, Grey or White) special design with its knobbed surface structure guarantees more grip and thus provides safer working conditions.
Size: 800 mm x 400 mm / 31.5″ x 15.75″
Slit Width: 14 mm / 0.55″
Amount of opening: 35%
Animal weight: 200 kg / 440 lb
Easy cleaning and effective drainage
Slightly elastic design makes it gentle on back and joints
Underfloor ventilation with warm air is possible
MIK Flooring Support System
The DUO support beam system is the basis for the entire panel system. The beams are made of composite fiberglass (GRP) to ensure a stable and durable panel support. Even under difficult construction conditions, our wide accessory assortment guarantees easy and fast assembling.
Height is 120 mm / 4.7″ or 150 mm / 6″
Benefits of Fiberglass and Stainless Steel Flat Bar Beam System:
high bearing load and stability due to delta-profile
special DUO edge profile for additional interlocking with panel
support leg system for wider spanning
acid and alkali resistant
first class self cleaning
The edge strips provide a clean finish, ensuring a proper closing of expansion gaps and smooth connection to concrete surfaces.
Calf Group and Individual Pen Flooring
The temperature neutral PRARIE and TRAPPER panels are increasingly used in calf rearing as an economic and practical alternative to concrete or wooden slats or bedding.
TRAPPER is mainly used in individual calf boxes and gives calves a high stability performance combined with best hygienic conditions.
Size: 800 mm x 400 mm / 31.5″ x 15.75″
Slit Width: 14 mm / 0.55″
Amount of opening: 35%
Animal weight: 200 kg / 440 lb
Thanks to its excellent load-bearing characteristics, PRÄRIE is extremely suitable where animals are kept in groups. Its special surface design offers good foot holding and keeps the panels dry and clean.
Size: 400 mm x 400 mm / 15.75″ x 15.75″
Slit Width: 20 mm / 0.79″
Amount of opening: 29%
Animal weight: 350 kg / 7700 lb
stable and longer lasting than wood
very hygienic due to 20mm openings and closed molecular material structure
eco-friendly tropical hard wood substitution
easy to use and install
time-saving cleaning means less work
lower operating costs due to savings in bedding and bedding storage
To see technical data for Prarie and Trapper Slats click on any of the pictures below:
Next Tuesday is Valentines Day. It’s a fact we can’t change, but who wants to spend 3 times more for flowers? Not me.
If you’re a little handy, you can make something yourself that will mean even more then flowers and candy.
(But not too much beats a romantic dinner that she doesn’t have to cook. just sayin)
After a little search on the internet, here are a few projects you can get done before next Tuesday.
You can even get the kids involved for a family activity.
Heart Light Bulb
1. red thin gauge wire or pipe cleaner (available at craft stores)
2. light bulb (any standard incandescent bulb with a regular size base will do..no fluorescent or halogen bulbs)
5. safety goggles
6. scrap piece of wood or wood cube (craft stores usually sell wood for crafts and would have a small square or chunky piece that would work)
7. 2 pins
8. paper and pen (or type written message)
9. wire cutters
10. hammer and nail (optional- if you are using soft balsa or craft wood these are not necessary)
11. hot glue gun
1. prepare a surface on a work table for hollowing out the bulb. make sure the area is large because little chunks might jump off the base when you crack the glass.
2. follow these instructions on how to hollow out the light bulb from teamdroid.com. these are easy to follow instructions that also give good tips on safety and procedure.
3. when you have your bulb ready, clean the outside carefully and put it to the side somewhere where it is protected from breaking.
4. cut a ten inch piece of wire to make a heart “filament”. fold the wire in half to create a sharp crease, then unfold. about an inch from the crease, take both loose wire ends and loop both wires around to create the heart halves. then pull both wires back down, overlapping the center of the crease and extending beyond the heart shape. you may want to tweak the heart halves a little to get heart shape that you like. your heart should be about 1/2″ wide so it will fit through the base of the bulb pretty easily.
5. if you want two or more heart filaments in your bulb, repeat step 4 one or more times.
6. take your filaments to your bulb and hold them up to see how long the stems need to be to have the heart filaments positioned in roughly the center of the bulb. use your pliers to cut the extra wire off the ends. also test that they fit int o your bulb without having to smush them or distort the shapes. if that is the case, make them smaller.
7. if your wood is soft, you should be able to poke the wire filaments down into the top of the wood and they will stay in position. if you are using a firmer wood, use a hammer and nail to create a small guide hole. then remove the nail and push the wire down into the hole. you may want to secure these with glue as well.
8. now fit your glass bulb over the filaments and glue the bulb down to the wood at the base.
9. use the pins to attach your love note or message to the front of the piece of wood.
This project will only work if you actually remember where you met, got engaged and where married to your significant other. Let’s assume you do.
Your first job is to source a frame from department store or 2nd hand shop of some kind with 3 compartments already in it.
Next get maps that show the places you met, engaged and married him/her.
After a little cut and paste you should end up with something like what is shown in this picture.
Extra points for drawing a heart, ring and wedding bands on each map.
This works best if each of these places are different. Mine would all be of Goderich, ON. Nice but a little boring.
Heart Eating Dino
He/She will never see this one coming. If the one you love really really likes dinosaurs or star wars or fish or what ever, simply paint it and glue some felt, paper or wooden hearts to it in an amusing way.
The dollar store or Walmart toy section should be a good place to find something fun to paint.
Spray paint it Gold or Silver or his/her favourite colour.
The finishing touch that shows how much you care is gluing on the hearts.
To get full instructions CLICK HERE.
If you can get Crayola air drying clay or small wooden hearts this is an easy one to do.
To get full instructions CLICK HERE
Paint red, and glue small magnets or magnet cloth to the hearts and your good to go.
For full instructions CLICK HERE.
Cutting the slices of wood is the hardest part of this job.
Once that’s done, sand each end so they don’t wobble.
Paint hearts and initials as shown or whatever else shows how much you care.
After a couple coats of clear coat paint to seal it all, your ready to go.
Note: you don’t have to use tree branch slices, coasters can be made from almost anything.
Any metal works if you glue on silicon feet. Shiny aluminum or Stainless looks great if you have some left over pieces from another job.
Used tire inner tube from your tractor is a fun material. Cut it into 4″ circles with any good scissors and paint hearts on with the same paint used on patio furniture.
Pallet wood is great if you find some with an interesting grain.
Have Fun Creating
(but don’t do too good a job, as the bar will be too high for next year)
By Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Date January 18, 2017
PRRS Virus Filter for Incoming Air
Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is a swine disease responsible for some of the highest economic losses in global pig production. In particular, breeding companies, multipliers and centers for artificial insemination must do everything possible to make sure that they maintain a negative PRRS status.
As a review, what is PRRS?
PRRS was first isolated and classified as an antivirus as recently as 1991 but first recognized in the USA in the mid 1980’s and was called “mystery swine disease”. It has also been called blue ear disease.
The virus of PRRS has the greatest affect on the pig’s lungs and reproductive system. A major part of the bodies defense mechanism is destroyed and allows bacteria and other viruses to proliferate and do damage. PRRS tends to remain present and active indefinitely.
The clinical picture can vary tremendously from one herd to another. As a guide, for every three herds that are exposed to PRRS for the first time one will show no recognizable disease, the second would show mild disease and the third moderate to severe disease. The reasons for this are not clearly understood. However the higher the health status of the herd, the less severe are the disease effects. It may be that the virus is mutating as it multiplies, throwing up some strains that are highly virulent and some that are not.
PRRS infects all types of herd including high or ordinary health status and both indoor and outdoor units, irrespective of size.
The main affects are decreased farrowing rates, increased mortality, attrition, and increased respiratory disease.
To read the entire article (www.thepigsite.com) including an extensive list of symptoms CLICK HERE
Economic effect of PRRS
PRRS is the most economically important disease now affecting swine producers.
According to The Economic and Production Impact of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome on Nursery and Grower-Finisher Pigs by Radu Zorzolan, A Thesis Presented to The University of Guelph
“The reduction of profits due to a PRRS outbreak was US $236 / female, which represented an 80% reduction in expected profits in the year of the outbreak.”
The same study estimated the cost of PRRS infection in the grower-finisher population to average $6.25-15.25 per pig (combined nursery and finishing stage).
For the complete thesis CLICK HERE
Does an PRRS air filter work to keep your heard PRRS negative?
Throughout the swine industry, extensive efforts have been made to protect genetic and commercial swine herds from infection with different pathogens. However, local spread of certain pathogens such as PRRSV between farms still occurs due to aerosol transmission (Dee et al. 2006c). To reduce the risk of airborne spread, swine producers around the world are beginning to implement systems to filter the air entering their facilities. France was the first country that reported the use of air filtration in nucleus herds and boar studs. Since 1996, Cooperl- Hunaudaye, implemented air filtration in 11 herds that were populated with PRRSV negative animals after the system was installed. Air Filtration for PRRS Control 155 These herds are situated in Brittany, the most populated swine area in France; all have preserved their PRRSV negative status since then. As of today a considerable number of artificial insemination centers and farms in Europe, Quebec and the United States have implemented this technology since, in spite of extreme biosecurity rules, they experienced among others PRRS outbreaks without finding a logical explanation (Desrosiers, 2004a).
To read entire article from the Priarie Swine Centre CLICK HERE
Dwyer Manufacturing offers an PRRS virus air filtraton system designed by Big Dutchman, Germany.
Below is a summary of information on Big Dutchman’s Air Pro Tec system. CLICK HERE to find complete brochure
With Air Pro Tec, Big Dutchman offers an efficient fresh air filter which significantly reduces the introduction of PRRS viruses – by up to 95%
With Big Dutchman’s pressurized system, there are no exacting requirements regarding the air-tightness of the building.
The air filters consist of the following main parts:
Wind protection netting – prevents the entry of coarse foreign matter
Prefilter – filters particles with a diameter of 3 microns and any PRRS viruses adhering to them
Main Filter – filter fine particles up to 0.3 microns and any PRRS viruses adhering to them
Cooling Module – fresh air can be cooled as required
Ventilation pipe with fan and cover flap
The Air Pro Tec filters come in three sizes to be used in a centralized or decentralized systems.
The centralized systems ( APT 10 000 and APT 20 000) works well in facilities where cooling is necessary. Air capacity of each is 10,000 and 20,000 m3/hour respectively.
The decentralized system is build to fit Big D’s CL wall air inlets but can also be retrofitted for existing wall inlets. Air capacity is 1500 m3/hour
While the additional capital cost of a PRRS virus air filtration system can be significant, the cost benefit of keeping your PRRS virus negative status can be more over the lifetime of the filtration system. Remember the study that shows $236 / sow / year in production lose is possible the first year of outbreak.
$236 x 500 sows = $118,000 in the first year alone plus over 10 years = $1,180,000 in production lose plus the value of a negative PRRS status.
Contact us here at Dwyer Manufacturing for more details and a quote for your operation.
Jan 4, 2017
By Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Winter Ventilation in Pig Barns
As herdsmen(women) we have been entrusted with the day to day well-being of the staff, who work each day in the barns and the animals in our care.
During cold Canadian winters, providing quality air in the grower and finisher rooms can seem like a balancing act between clean air and energy costs. For the sake of you and your staff and the health and performance of your animals, proper air quality should be basic fact.
If you breathe uncomfortably while in a pig room, or the room has visible vapour, barn workers health is at risk and the pigs are struggling too. More often there can also be conditions where you can’t tell if ammonia (NH3) levels are elevated but if exposed to too much ammonia for an extended period of time, respiratory problems can occur.
From an paper from Dr. C. Dewey, B. Cox and J. Leyenaar. Increased incidence of chronic cough, wheezing, chest tightness, irritation of the eyes………. can be experience in areas with ammonia (NH3) concentrations as low as 7 ppm. Ammonia is expected to stay in the upper respiratory tract. However, ammonia can adhere to dust particles and then will be carried to the smaller airways, causing more serious problems.
Citing Harry Huffman’s comments at the 2009 London Swine Conference. Ammonia gas is released from the pig’s manure and should be kept at less than 20 parts per million. Additionally, the relative humidity in the barn should be less than 70 percent.
From this information the question comes to mind: how do we measure ammonia and humidity levels so we can manage our barn’s ventilation system to provide clean air without using too much heat?
Paper test strips and Detector Tubes are available on-line or we can source them for you.
Directions for use are on the back of the ammonia strips package.
1. Tear off a 2-inch piece of ammonia strip.
2. Wet 1 inch of the strip with clean/distilled water.
3. Wave the strip near animal level for 20 to 30 seconds.
4. Wait 15 seconds and compare the strip color with the color chart on package.
Another low cost ammonia test with accuracy within 20% is called Colorimetric Tube or Detector Tube.
Use the provided air pump to draw air through the glass tube.
The chemical inside the tube will change colour
Like a thermometer, you read ppm of ammonia on scale printed on tube.
There is also a passive detector tube that stays in place for up to 24 hours and reads an average ammonia level.
Humidity: a basic humidity tester can be found at most hardware stores. Place it in the room close to pig level during the test period.
You and your staff will quickly acclimatize to the smells of ammonia so it’s important to not just depend on the simple nose test as your air quality method.
When setting your minimum ventilation for your pigs rooms, remember the health benefits of cleaner air are more important then a few dollars in heating costs.
Dec 28, 16
By Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Reducing Feed Wastage
If pigs prices are up or down, if corn / soybean prices are up or down, it’s always a good idea to look at your feed delivery process to remove any wastage.
One or two small reductions in your feed wastage can result in significant dollars in your pocket.
Any of us would bend-over to pick up a $5 bill, imagine finding that $5 bill every day simply by bending over to adjust a few self feeders.
A quality New Year’s resolution would be to print this list and implement a few of them during the upcoming cold months and notice how your feed bill stretches a little further.
Check list on whole farm feed wastage areas:
Spillage at bin during filling. Make sure your blow pipe is secure and without holes. Do what you have to do to keep fines to a minimum. Spilled feed attracts rodents.
Spillage and moisture in storage and unloading systems. A little silicon goes a long way to stop moisture getting in. If it’s beyond repair, contact us for a stainless steel flex and solid auger options that will serve you for many years.
Insure there are enough feeding spaces for the pigs to eat with limited competition.
Even distribution of feed along the feeder.
Position of feeder in the pen so
The feeder is closer to the sleeping area, not the dunging area. Manure in the feeder will always reduce intake and increase wastage.
it can be easily inspected from the passageway.
Locate the drinker so it can be reached but not played with and flood out the feeder pan.
A covered feeder is best to minimize dust in the room, reduce moisture and rodents from spoiling the feed. Include a see through area so feed can still be inspected. Dwyer Mfg is a good source of PVC board.
Keep the feeder well maintained so it can be adjusted and no holes or cracks leak feed out.
Have feed available when the pigs enter the barn. A detail that helps reduce lag in consumption that happens when pigs are moved.
Clean out your feeders thoroughly between batches. Design your system so the feeder can be flipped upside down to really clean it out.
Don’t over-fill the feeders, especially when pigs first enter the barn. Pigs will waste stale feed to find fresher.
Grind feed ingredients properly. An average of 700 microns has been documented to be best. Dwyer can do a particle test for you and provide you with a quality stainless hammer mill.
Using multi-phase rations will give your pigs the correct nutrition as their needs change. Every breed and farm can be unique, so conduct some tests to see what works best at your place. Dwyer Mfg can source or build you an affordable pig and feed weighing system.
Carefully feed a farrowing sow to meet her needs during lactation and during the first week back in the breeding barn. Uneaten feed is a direct waste that turns moldy and attracts flies.
Having a “hospital” or recovery pen is a great idea but make sure the feeder is designed properly for the sick pigs that will be using it. Keep the feed fresh and accessible. Dwyer can custom build a Stainless trough feeder for any size pig.
Keep rodents and birds out of the barn as best you can. Screen naturally ventilated barns and put an anti-rodent program in place. It’s best to make it someone’s regular job or it’ll never get done. Put poison in short pieces of 2 or 3 inch pipe along the walls where rodents travel. OMAFRA’s fact sheet on rodents CLICK HERE
Non-pregnant sows: It is essential that all sows 6 weeks post-mating are actually pregnant. A sow which is discovered not to be pregnant in week 16 of ‘gestation’ has just consumed 175 kg (2.5x7x10) of feed since mating. On many farms, this can be as many as 7% of sows. On a 250-sow unit, this is accounts for 3 tonnes of sow feed a year.
Cull sows: Once the decision to cull a sow is made, ensure that she is culled as soon as possible. Cull sows are eating 2.5 kg a day.
Feeding finishing pigs prior to slaughter: To feed a pig immediately prior to slaughter, wastes 2.5 kg per pig sold. Limit transport shrinkage by providing lots of water leading up to shipping.
Overweight finishing pigs: Finishing pigs must be weighed and sold into the slaughterhouse matrix. Outside the box, the pig becomes extremely expensive. Not only do they not earn the extra feed they have consumed, but they are going to result in a penalty at the slaughterhouse, reducing their return. Dwyer Mfg can supply weighing systems that mark and sort pigs that meet the weight settings.
Review culling of runt pigs: Pigs which are born small and/or are weaned as a runt, should have their survivability carefully reviewed. Small, weak born piglets have poor FCR rate and increased mortality rate. The feed cost of these animals needs careful review.
Air temperature and comfort: Ensure that you keep the pigs within their thermo-comfort zone. If the pigs are housed too cold, feed will be consumed to help keep the pig warm.
The chart below shows clearly how feed wastage adds up in a hurry.
Note: this report is in Australian dollars. Currently $1 CND = $1.03 Australian
Thanks to The Pig Journal UK. Pig Veterinary Society for base of this blog.
Dec 21, 2016
By Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Joy of the Season
With the kids all out on their own, the “ba-humbug” part of me comes out much more easily. It’s hard to go to that place with kids around the house brimming with excitement about the tree going up, wrapping presents and getting a bunch of play time with no school. For parents it great watching the kids get along more then usual. They plan activities together out in the snow or get out a favorite game to play together. The older ones are more inclined to help the younger ones do things like get mom and dad’s present ready or get the toboggans ready for an afternoon of adventure out on a hill.
It seems the switch that turns the tree’s lights on also turns on the spirit of the season for me and probably lots of others.
Below is a nice video aimed at kids, but good for everyone, to learn how different cultures around the world celebrate this special season. What struck me from this video is how there are many different traditions around the world but there is a common thread that connects us all, this is a time we all work to be nicer to our fellow man.