May 3, 2018
By Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Making Feed Troughs
This week we have been busy building stainless 16 foot feed troughs.
Welding and bending stainless is a daily routine for us but for most it is an interesting activity to see.
To see a video on how we bend the feed trough you see here CLICK HERE.
After they are bent, two pieces need to be welded together to make it long enough, ends are welded on to keep the liquid feed contained and supports are welded on to strengthen the trough.
To see the welding process video via time-lapse photography CLICK HERE.
Thanks Natt for playing along so we can get some video.
February 14, 2018
By: Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Increasing Piglet Viability, Pre-Weaning
As we continue to select sow genetics for increased litter size we also increase the number of low birth weight piglets and greater variability in piglet body weights.
Piglet with lower birth weights usually:
- Have a decreased survival rate throughout the production system
- Experience poorer weight gains throughout the production system
- Have more days to market then their larger litter mates
Dr. Ruth Wonfor: IBERS, Aberystwyth University
Emma Catharine Greenwood , Thesis, 2012
Birth weight is one of the major factors shown to be positively correlated with piglet survival It is estimated that an increase in birth weight of 200g can increase weight gain from birth to slaughter by 24 g a day (King et al. 2006). (Reference 2)
Table 1. Weights of piglets and litters depending on the number of piglets born alive per litter.
This chart clearly shows what happens to avg piglet weight and % of low viable pigs as born alive numbers goes up.
|Piglet born alive →||8||9||10||11||12||13||14||15||16||17||19|
|Average piglet weight, kg||1.64||1.65||1.65||1.45||1.36||1.31||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.20||1.18|
|Average litter weight, kg||13.2||14.8||16.5||16.1||16.5||16.8||17.4||19.0||19.9||20.4||22.9|
|% of piglets <1kg||0||0||0||9||13||15||21||13||18||29||31|
|% of piglets <1.3kg||13||12||10||27||41||46||55||53||55||59||52|
J Anim Sci.
FACT: There is a linear relationship between weaning weight and ADG in the post-nursery phase of growth. We have concluded that a weaning weight of less than 5.0 kg imposes the greatest marginal loss in production output for a 20 day weaned piglet. (Reference 1)
A trial that shows Birth weight is the main factor affecting performance
Pigs were divided into four groups depending on birth weight: <1kg, from 1 to 1.3 kg, from 1.3 to 1.7 kg and >1.7 kg. The average parity of the four groups was similar. However, litter size decreased from 14.0 piglets to 11.2 piglets as the birth weight increased. The initial difference in the average weight of the animals in groups <1 and >1.7 kg at birth was around 1kg and it became a 21 kg difference at slaughter. When calculated by regression, 100g of a difference in birth weight became 1.3 kg of a difference in carcass weight. Www.Pig333.com (Reference 3)
Proper sow nutrition during pregnancy is an important detail that will help to increase number of pigs born and piglet birth weight. Your nutritionist will be a big help in building a solid sow feeding program that will lead to bigger piglets being born and the sow having the capacity to provide ample milk for a larger litter.
Having a feed delivery system that is dependable is important to litter size. Missing a feeding here and there at critical times during pregnancy can have a significant role in the piglet numbers and birth weight.
With a sow record keeping system in place, it could be beneficial to try different trials to target in on the best feeding strategy for your sows.
Below are a number of facts that show the importance of your piglets getting off to a strong start.
Kathryn Reid in the latest Teagasc Advisory Newsletter.
Did you know?
- 60 per cent of fetal growth occurs in the last 30 days of gestation.
- Farrowing house temperature should be increased to 24°C before the first piglet is born.
- Farrowing should be complete within five hours; exceeding six hours can double incidence of stillbirths.
- After stillbirths, crushing is the second biggest cause of piglet mortality.
- (Small weak piglets are much more likely to not be able to get our of the way of the sow)
- Pre-weaning mortality can be reduced by 18% and stillbirths halved with good supervision. However, excessive disturbance can stress sows, prolonging farrowing and increasing pre-weaning mortality.
- Cross fostering can reduce pre-weaning mortality by 40 per cent.
- Colostrum antibody levels drop 50 per cent within six hours of the first suckling.
Dr Keelin O’Driscoll and Dr Peadar Lawlor of Moorepark
Management strategies to keep young pigs alive
Once these low viable pigs are born the focus will then be on investigating methods to keep them alive. Again, nutritional strategies must be explored to ensure that colostrum quality is optimized.
Management strategies to reduce pre-weaning mortality in large litters:
Strategic use of nurse sows to reduce piglet mortality
Strategic use of Rescue Decks to reduce piglet mortality
Strategic use of energy supplements to reduce piglet mortality
Producers have tried to improve results by cross fostering or using foster sows. But the results were not always satisfactory and this procedure does not suit all-in-all-out management. It became clear that help was needed to improve survival rates in the farrowing house using a new and different approach. (Reference 5)
Creep feed provision during suckling By Dr. Ruth Wonfor: IBERS, Aberystwyth University
In order to reach growth and efficiency potential, of even traditional breeds, you should really work out how best to support the nutrient supply to the piglet from the sow’s milk production. Milk replacers can be provided to piglets whilst they are still suckling, although intake is variable before piglets are weaned. Creep feeding at an early stage often gives piglets an extra enhancement in growth rate, especially in larger litter sizes. The creep feed also helps to better prepare the piglet for weaning making the gut adapt to a different feed source, which better equips them to digest the feed given at weaning. However, it must be noted that although this will better prepare piglets for the weaning period, the management strategy has minimal effects on piglet survival, and does not benefit piglet mortality in the first 3 days after birth. Therefore, creep feeding is something to be considered before weaning to ease the transition. The use of creep feed is also likely to have a benefit on the sow’s body condition through a reduction in piglet dependence on the mother’s milk and also eating of her food. An elongated reliance on the sow without the use of a creep feed will manifest on further production traits of the mother related to getting the sow pregnant again soon. (Reference 6)
Dwyer Mfg is proud to offer the MIK creep feeding pan for feeding dry feed or milk replacer to piglets in the farrowing or nursery room.
This 3.5 liter (29.5 cm/11 inch) feeder is made from high quality plastic that easy to clean. The six space stable divider and high sides keeps feed wastage to a minimum.
We would be happy to price one feeder for your trial or enough to give all your piglets that important early boost that will benefit it’s growth the whole way through the production system.
Dwyer Mfg Milk Replacer System
The Milk Replacer Bowls can be in a rescue deck or in the creep area depending on the individual production style and barn layout. The bowl itself has a specially designed drinker nipple that does not let the liquid siphon back into the system or let the liquid overflow the bowl which leads to spoilage and wastage.
Milk replacer is supplied to the bowls through a precision pumping system from a storage tank through PVC pipe and specially made long elbows to keep pressure reduction to a minimum. A rescue deck would contain three cups: one for the water and two for milk.
The equipment is supplied by Dwyer Mfg and the milk replacer comes from Purina Agribrands. Bob TenHove can be counted on to help design a feeding strategy that works best for your farm. 519-440-6510
Purina has two quality liquid products that the system can use.
Pig Tech RescueMilk is specially formulated, highly palatable milk replacer for light and weak piglets. It is designed as a replacement to sows’ milk, for orphan and starve-out pigs or as a management tool to supplement large litters. Click on link for detailed info: Purina RescueMilk
Pig Tech Smooth is a specially formulated liquid prestarter for extra high feed intake and smooth weaning. It is designed to complement sow’s milk and bridge the nutritional gap between what she can produce and what her piglets require for optimum growth. Smooth is a unique replacement for sow’s milk or older pigs up to 10 days old. Click on link for detailed info: Purona Pig Tech Smooth
Outperforming litter mates
By Pieter Wolleswinkel, Provimi, the Netherlands
Research indicates that all piglets perform well in a Rescue Deck: healthy piglets, small piglets and lagging piglets. Piglets with a normal birth weight were selected and placed into a Rescue Deck as they had insufficient sow milk intake at day 4 (limited stomach fill). These piglets recovered in a Rescue Deck and by day 14 post-weaning they had equaled piglets raised on the sow. This demonstrated the positive effect of the Rescue Deck system on gut development, where piglets hardly faced a weaning dip. This is a result of the high feed intake in the Rescue Deck – piglets could typically achieve intakes of 3 kg of Rescue Milk and 3kg of prestarter until weaning.
In general, the Rescue Deck reduces piglet mortality by 3% to 5% depending on the initial situation. Average weaning weight improves by approximately 350 g for all piglets as the remaining piglets have more space at the udder. And finally, the litter index improves as less foster sows are required. To obtain these results, one Rescue Deck per 12 sows is needed but this ultimately depends on the litter sizes.
Looking at the bottom line, A well managed milk replacer system can deliver:
4% reduction in piglet mortality. That means 635 piglets extra weaned per year on a 500 head sow herd.
350 g increase in weaning weight. 5,000 kg extra weaning weight per year.
The payback time is less then 1 year, not including growth benefits in the grower and finisher barn (24 grams per day benefit x 170 days = 4 kg).
Given the ongoing development of pig production such investments are required to keep performance at the required level. These tools can be cost-effective. Most importantly, they provide a means of harnessing the progress made in litter sizes and ensuring that piglet output moves in the same direction.
Dwyer Mfg and Purina Agribrand are ready to help you make your operation the best it can be.
Feel free to talk to Mike or Joe for equipment options and pricing.
6. Read entire article here: https://businesswales.gov.wales/farmingconnect/posts/improving-piglet-survival-nutritional-approach-sow-piglet
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
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.