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By: Gilbert VandenHeuvel

Date: May 3, 2018

Comparison of 4 Feeding Strategies for Finishing Barn

Introduction

While working with many different farmers day-in and day-out, here at Dwyer Manufacturing, we help solve lots of different problems. Some are smaller questions like what type and size of concrete fastener to use. Others are bigger issues like design of a feeding or flooring system. A while ago a customer asked a very broad question before he started rebuilding his finishing barn, “What type of feeding strategy should I use: simple prepared feed program, feed my own dry corn or feed high moisture corn”? During this tail-gate conversation, we talked about the advantages of each but in the end the deciding factor should be cost of production.

From my experience feeding pigs, a high moisture corn feeding program in the finishing barn (or any other area) is easily the least cost feeding corn option of choice. In this document we shall let the numbers show us if that is correct.

Goal

The goal of this study is to demonstrate the difference in cost of feeding prepared complete feed and 3 different feeding strategies that utilize on-farm grown corn (dry and high moisture).

Application Frame Work

4 different ways of feeding a 2000 head finishing barn (25 – 125 kg):

  • Feed mill prepared complete pelleted feed.

  • Farm grown dry corn dried and feed prepared on-farm.

  • Farm grown dry corn dried at local feed mill and feed prepared on-farm.

  • Farm grown corn stored as high moisture corn (HMC) and feed prepared on-farm.

Basic Principle

The basic principle of this study is to compare only the costs that are not identical among each strategy.

Factors that are considered identical and thus not included are: labour for routine chores, feed ingredients (comparison made on preparation costs not the ingredients themselves), and other fixed & variable costs like: vet and meds, insurance, and taxes.

Factors that are included are: storage and feeding equipment, grain and feed grind/handling fees, feed room construction, feed equipment repair and maintenance, and on-farm energy costs to dry, handle and grind grain including feed preparation.

Some will argue that not including more factors in this economic study alters the results. It is my opinion that including minor factors will muddle the comparison and ultimately render the study unpractical to conduct at the least or even impossible.

Please take this as a broad-stroke study and fill in minor adjustments yourself as you see fit.

Table of Contents:alil-watches

Economic Study Assumptions

Advantages/disadvantages of each system. Including financial demonstration of:

1.  Complete Feed

2.  Dry Corn (On-Farm Drying)

3.  Dry Corn (Off-Farm Drying)

4.  High Moisture Corn

Conclusion & Summary

 



Economic Study Assumptions

  • Base barn is a 2000 head finishing barn at 8 sq. ft. per hog.  marketing 5831 hogs per year.

  • Farm is a land based operation able to supply enough corn to feed the pigs each year.

  • Farm has capital, staff, and management skills available to properly operate each of these feeding strategies.

  • 1401 MT of corn or 1868 MT complete feed consumed annually.

  • Standard feed mill Grind, Mix and Delivery charge for mash feed is $35/ MT

  • Dry feed feeders and liquid feed troughs costs are the same.

  • Except for feeding equipment, the barn is identical in design and thus cost.

  • Labour is the same to properly operate each system. Increased repair and maintenance is calculated for strategies with more mechanical equipment.

  • It is acknowledged that many smaller variables/costs have not been factored in. This study is intended to be a comparison that shows the “big picture” difference between these feeding strategies.




Complete Feed

Principle consideration:

This system involves the least amount of capital investment and simplest day to day management.

Explanation:

Prepared feed is stored in two 20 MT feed bins and a simple flex auger system or one of 2 feed delivery systems.

  •  2 feed bins needed @ $14,000 each = $28,000. Includes 30 ft flex auger to bring feed into barn and concrete base.

  • Three feeding system options are considered so proper comparisons can be made to management ability of computerized liquid system used with high moisture corn.

    • Simple: flex system, $11,800

    • Better: Daltec cable delivery system $13,530

    • Best: Daltec computer controlled delivery system, $25,500. Able to measure feed going to each feeder.

Advantages:

  • System is simple with least amount of management and potential maintenance problems.

  • Least amount of capital is tied up.

  • Easiest to find / train labour to run system.

  • Managing pigs on a dry feeding system is well researched

  • Many feed mills have access to lower cost dry ingredients which can be included in the ration

Disadvantages:

  • Feed preparation costs paid to feed company adds up over longer period of time. ($35 / MT)

  • Options of feeding ingredients are limited to dry components

  • Ability to calculate pig performance is more difficult when feed delivered to each pen is not measured

  • U of Guelph studies shows feed waste up to 2% higher on a dry feeder than a trough used with a liquid feed system

 Summary:

  • Over a 15 year period, feeding system capital costs make up a small amount of total costs (4% – 5%).

  • A computerized system can be a significant asset in measuring feed quantity to each pen thus providing the information needed to calculate F:G. A difference of $13700 initially is only 1.3% of feed processing cost over 15 years. If these management numbers are not required then a basic system is the best option.

  • When making the decision to utilize the simplicity of prepared feed, be aware of preparation costs that will go towards the feed mill preparing your feed over the long term.




 

Dry Corn

On-Farm Drying and Storage

Principle consideration:

On-farm corn drying and storage avoids annual elevator drying, storage and transportation costs.

Explanations:

Three feeding system options are considered so proper comparisons can be made to management ability of computerized liquid system used with high moisture corn.

  • Simple: flex system, $11,800

  • Better: Daltec cable delivery system, $13,530

  • Best: Daltec computer controlled delivery system, $25,500

Advantages:

  • When feeding your own corn, quality, good or bad, is a known variable.

  • There are more options to find quality feeding programs for a dry feed program then for a liquid feeding system.

  • Managing dry feeding system has been well researched with lots of information available.

  • It’s easier to find & train labour to run dry feeding system.

  • Lower annual drying cost then having someone else dry and store your corn.

    • on-farm = $4.75 / MT, (corn moisture 23.8% – 15.5%)

    • Elevator drying charges = $17.03 / MT (natural gas at $0.232/m3)

  • Feeding system is simple with the least amount of management and potential maintenance problems.

 Disadvantages:

  • Drying cost will be higher if Propane is used

  • Extra electricity is used to cool / warm stored corn during the year.  $500 / year. Spoilage is always a risk.

  • Large capital outlay to build corn dryer and corn storage.  $320,000

    • includes: site prep, small dryer, wet bin, dry storage with aeration floor (2@30’x80′), and large PTO transport auger

  • U of Guelph studies shows feed waste up to 2% higher on a dry feeder then a feeding trough used with a liquid feed system.

  • Higher level of management needed to operate this complete system.

 


Grinding corn takes energy which costs money.  Here is our calculations for cost of grinding corn.




Off Farm Corn Drying

returned to farm weekly throughout the year

Principle Consideration:

Most on-farm drying systems have a lower throughput capacity then the harvesting equipment used, thus slowi

ng down the harvesting process. A workable alternative is to deliver wet corn to a local elevator and return it to the farm throughout the year, on a weekly basis.

This system avoids the need for significant capital needed to construct a corn dryer system or high moisture corn silo.

Explanations:

This system utilizes on-farm corn but in a simpler way. Bins for dry corn, soybean meal and mineral hopper plus equipment for corn grinding and feed preparation are all that is required to prepare the pig feed.

Three feeding system options are considered so proper comparisons can be made to management ability of computerized liquid system used with high moisture corn.

  • Simple: flex system, $11,800

  • Better: Daltec cable delivery system, $13,530

  • Best: Daltec computer controlled delivery system, $25,500

Advantages

  • Harvest is completed quickly with no dryer bottle necks.

  • Reduced investment in drying and storage equipment

  • Feeding system is simple with least amount of management and potential maintenance problems.

  • Management of dry feeding system are well researched

  • Easiest to find labour to run this type of feeding system.

Disadvantages

  • Quality of corn received from local elevator can be variable.

  • Full drying and elevation costs are incurred. 25% – 15.5% = $18.74 / MT drying

  • Storage costs incurred.  $2.40 / MT per month totaling $18,493 per year.

  • Transportation cost incurred to return corn to farm. $10/MT totaling $14,010 per year.

 

Storage costs must be accounted for in this system. Below are the calculations there where used.




High Moisture Corn 

Principle Consideration:

To avoid significant corn drying expenses and/or prepared feed milling costs a workable solution is to store your corn in a high moisture corn format at 20%-30%. A sealed, oxygen limiting silo will allow the corn to ferment and store with little spoilage. The best way to mix and deliver feed with high moisture corn is with a computerized liquid feeding system.

Explanations:

Total cost of a Sealed concrete silo is $310,000 including site prep work, silo, unloader etc.

Due to the nature or handling HM corn, a higher repair and maintenance % is used.

Advantages:

  • Harvest can happen earlier and quickly.  25% moisture target

    •   With an earlier harvest time:

        • There is more time for manure application and fall tillage. 

        • less chance of molds to develop on corn.

        • Reduced chance of cobs dropping or stalks breaking down.

        • Longer day corn can be used to increase yield potential.

  • No corn drying costs are incurred.

  • Feed costs and feed conversation can be calculated since feeding computer records amounts sent to each valve.

  • Feed intake and efficiency should improve when feed

  • Day-to-day feed intakes are easily monitored showing signs of illness quickly.

  • Medications are easier to add to feed on a short-term basis.

  • Significant reduction on dust in feed room and pig rooms.

  • More of the corn’s phosphorus is available to swine in HM corn (166% increase) over dry corn.  With additional soaking with some Phytase, almost all the corn’s phosphorus is available to the pigs.  This not only eliminates cost of additional Phytase it also significantly reduces the amount of phosphorus in the manure.   CLICK HERE or HERE for U. of Guelph Studies.

  • Research has found less feed wasted from liquid feeding trough than a dry feeder resulting in an improved feed conversion. For studies demonstrating this click HERE

    4.4% growth improvement with fermented corn.  CLICK HERE for study details.

  • Using lower cost wet co-products is a possibility with a liquid system.Audemars Piguet Replica Watches

Disadvantages:

  • Significant initial cost to install sealed silo and computerized feeding system.

  • Once corn is fermented, it can only be fed to livestock.

  • Once exposed to air, HM corn begins to lose feed value so it needs to be used within 6 hours.

  • Liquid feeding system has more maintenance issues that can disrupt pig feeding.

  • Special skills required to operate and maintain computerized feeding system.

  • Stainless equipment needed to handle acidic/fermented high moisture corn.

  • Some loss of pen space due to feeding trough.

  • If corn moisture is below 20% when loaded into the silo additives needs be used to assist in fermentation.

  • Removal of corn from silo and handling / grinding is more difficult if corn moisture is above 30%.

 




Comparison Summary

The simplicity of a feed mill prepared feed system and off-farm corn drying & storage will be the best option for certain situations, for a variety of reasons. When making this choice be aware of the higher cost of production it will inure.

Drying & storing your own corn or working with high moisture corn takes some skill and some risks are present, but a sizable reduction in production costs are available to those taking this route.

The calculations in the charts below show that:

  • the prepared feed system incurs 4.8 times more costs then the high moisture and 2.8 times more cost then on-farm corn drying

  • The 4 feeding strategy options have sorted themselves into 2 groups.

    • Using prepared feed and off-farm corn drying results in similar feed costs

    • On-farm corn drying and High moisture corn are not as similar but they are comparable.

  • If liquid feeding isn’t an option, on-farm drying is the next best economical option

  • Feeding on-farm high moisture corn with a liquid feed system is the most economical option by far. It’s operating costs is about $9.00 less per pig then prepared feed & off-farm corn drying options. Compared to its closest option, on-farm drying, it has a $1.66 per pig advantage with a much simpler harvesting system, full use of the corn’s natural phosphorus and the ability to calculate feed conversions and cost per kg gained.

  • While it’s tempting to design a barn with equipment purchase price as the leading factor, you will make more money in the long run, designing a system that reduces feed costs and maximizes growth.







Conclusion

Computerized liquid feeding requires a particular skill set in operations and maintenance but those willing to do this can expect a significant reduction in feed costs.

Feeding system capital costs may seem significant at the moment of construction, but over the life span of the facility, it is a relatively small part of total operating costs.

While there is no feed strategy that will fit all business models, my hope is that this study helps you understand the costs over the long term of each system.




Thank you to those who’s assistance was much appreciated.

Harry Reid, MWI Silos, Hill and Hill Farms, John Ernewein Ltd, Laura Eastwood Swine Specialist of OMAFRA , Joe Dwyer and Mike Giffen of Dwyer Manufacturing

Making Feed Trough

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 billwatch photography CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Natt for playing along so we can get some video.

 

 

 

Piglet Viability

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.

(Reference 4)

 

 

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.

(Reference 7)

 



 

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.

 

 

 

Reference sources:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20190163

2. http://porkcrc.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/121211-E-Greenwood-Thesis.pdf

3. https://www.pig333.com/articles/effects-of-birth-weight-parity-and-litter-size-on-pig-performance-he_11619/

4. http://www.thepigsite.com/articles/5055/managing-large-litters/

5. http://www.thepigsite.com/articles/4533/optimising-output-per-sow-optipig/

6. Read entire article here: https://businesswales.gov.wales/farmingconnect/posts/improving-piglet-survival-nutritional-approach-sow-piglet

7. http://www.pigprogress.net/Special-Focus/Piglet-Feeding/Rescue-decks-improve-piglet-survival-rates/

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.

Enjoy.

 

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.

To see some in action click HERE or HERE

“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.

By: Gilbert VandenHeuvel

Date: May 3, 2018

Comparison of 4 Feeding Strategies for Finishing Barn

Introduction

While working with many different farmers day-in and day-out, here at Dwyer Manufacturing, we help solve lots of different problems. Some are smaller questions like what type and size of concrete fastener to use. Others are bigger issues like design of a feeding or flooring system. A while ago a customer asked a very broad question before he started rebuilding his finishing barn, “What type of feeding strategy should I use: simple prepared feed program, feed my own dry corn or feed high moisture corn”? During this tail-gate conversation, we talked about the advantages of each but in the end the deciding factor should be cost of production.

From my experience feeding pigs, a high moisture corn feeding program in the finishing barn (or any other area) is easily the least cost feeding corn option of choice. In this document we shall let the numbers show us if that is correct.

Goal

The goal of this study is to demonstrate the difference in cost of feeding prepared complete feed and 3 different feeding strategies that utilize on-farm grown corn (dry and high moisture).

Application Frame Work

4 different ways of feeding a 2000 head finishing barn (25 – 125 kg):

  • Feed mill prepared complete pelleted feed.

  • Farm grown dry corn dried and feed prepared on-farm.

  • Farm grown dry corn dried at local feed mill and feed prepared on-farm.

  • Farm grown corn stored as high moisture corn (HMC) and feed prepared on-farm.

Basic Principle

The basic principle of this study is to compare only the costs that are not identical among each strategy.

Factors that are considered identical and thus not included are: labour for routine chores, feed ingredients (comparison made on preparation costs not the ingredients themselves), and other fixed & variable costs like: vet and meds, insurance, and taxes.

Factors that are included are: storage and feeding equipment, grain and feed grind/handling fees, feed room construction, feed equipment repair and maintenance, and on-farm energy costs to dry, handle and grind grain including feed preparation.

Some will argue that not including more factors in this economic study alters the results. It is my opinion that including minor factors will muddle the comparison and ultimately render the study unpractical to conduct at the least or even impossible.

Please take this as a broad-stroke study and fill in minor adjustments yourself as you see fit.

Table of Contents:alil-watches

Economic Study Assumptions

Advantages/disadvantages of each system. Including financial demonstration of:

1.  Complete Feed

2.  Dry Corn (On-Farm Drying)

3.  Dry Corn (Off-Farm Drying)

4.  High Moisture Corn

Conclusion & Summary

 



Economic Study Assumptions

  • Base barn is a 2000 head finishing barn at 8 sq. ft. per hog.  marketing 5831 hogs per year.

  • Farm is a land based operation able to supply enough corn to feed the pigs each year.

  • Farm has capital, staff, and management skills available to properly operate each of these feeding strategies.

  • 1401 MT of corn or 1868 MT complete feed consumed annually.

  • Standard feed mill Grind, Mix and Delivery charge for mash feed is $35/ MT

  • Dry feed feeders and liquid feed troughs costs are the same.

  • Except for feeding equipment, the barn is identical in design and thus cost.

  • Labour is the same to properly operate each system. Increased repair and maintenance is calculated for strategies with more mechanical equipment.

  • It is acknowledged that many smaller variables/costs have not been factored in. This study is intended to be a comparison that shows the “big picture” difference between these feeding strategies.




Complete Feed

Principle consideration:

This system involves the least amount of capital investment and simplest day to day management.

Explanation:

Prepared feed is stored in two 20 MT feed bins and a simple flex auger system or one of 2 feed delivery systems.

  •  2 feed bins needed @ $14,000 each = $28,000. Includes 30 ft flex auger to bring feed into barn and concrete base.

  • Three feeding system options are considered so proper comparisons can be made to management ability of computerized liquid system used with high moisture corn.

    • Simple: flex system, $11,800

    • Better: Daltec cable delivery system $13,530

    • Best: Daltec computer controlled delivery system, $25,500. Able to measure feed going to each feeder.

Advantages:

  • System is simple with least amount of management and potential maintenance problems.

  • Least amount of capital is tied up.

  • Easiest to find / train labour to run system.

  • Managing pigs on a dry feeding system is well researched

  • Many feed mills have access to lower cost dry ingredients which can be included in the ration

Disadvantages:

  • Feed preparation costs paid to feed company adds up over longer period of time. ($35 / MT)

  • Options of feeding ingredients are limited to dry components

  • Ability to calculate pig performance is more difficult when feed delivered to each pen is not measured

  • U of Guelph studies shows feed waste up to 2% higher on a dry feeder than a trough used with a liquid feed system

 Summary:

  • Over a 15 year period, feeding system capital costs make up a small amount of total costs (4% – 5%).

  • A computerized system can be a significant asset in measuring feed quantity to each pen thus providing the information needed to calculate F:G. A difference of $13700 initially is only 1.3% of feed processing cost over 15 years. If these management numbers are not required then a basic system is the best option.

  • When making the decision to utilize the simplicity of prepared feed, be aware of preparation costs that will go towards the feed mill preparing your feed over the long term.




 

Dry Corn

On-Farm Drying and Storage

Principle consideration:

On-farm corn drying and storage avoids annual elevator drying, storage and transportation costs.

Explanations:

Three feeding system options are considered so proper comparisons can be made to management ability of computerized liquid system used with high moisture corn.

  • Simple: flex system, $11,800

  • Better: Daltec cable delivery system, $13,530

  • Best: Daltec computer controlled delivery system, $25,500

Advantages:

  • When feeding your own corn, quality, good or bad, is a known variable.

  • There are more options to find quality feeding programs for a dry feed program then for a liquid feeding system.

  • Managing dry feeding system has been well researched with lots of information available.

  • It’s easier to find & train labour to run dry feeding system.

  • Lower annual drying cost then having someone else dry and store your corn.

    • on-farm = $4.75 / MT, (corn moisture 23.8% – 15.5%)

    • Elevator drying charges = $17.03 / MT (natural gas at $0.232/m3)

  • Feeding system is simple with the least amount of management and potential maintenance problems.

 Disadvantages:

  • Drying cost will be higher if Propane is used

  • Extra electricity is used to cool / warm stored corn during the year.  $500 / year. Spoilage is always a risk.

  • Large capital outlay to build corn dryer and corn storage.  $320,000

    • includes: site prep, small dryer, wet bin, dry storage with aeration floor (2@30’x80′), and large PTO transport auger

  • U of Guelph studies shows feed waste up to 2% higher on a dry feeder then a feeding trough used with a liquid feed system.

  • Higher level of management needed to operate this complete system.

 


Grinding corn takes energy which costs money.  Here is our calculations for cost of grinding corn.




Off Farm Corn Drying

returned to farm weekly throughout the year

Principle Consideration:

Most on-farm drying systems have a lower throughput capacity then the harvesting equipment used, thus slowi

ng down the harvesting process. A workable alternative is to deliver wet corn to a local elevator and return it to the farm throughout the year, on a weekly basis.

This system avoids the need for significant capital needed to construct a corn dryer system or high moisture corn silo.

Explanations:

This system utilizes on-farm corn but in a simpler way. Bins for dry corn, soybean meal and mineral hopper plus equipment for corn grinding and feed preparation are all that is required to prepare the pig feed.

Three feeding system options are considered so proper comparisons can be made to management ability of computerized liquid system used with high moisture corn.

  • Simple: flex system, $11,800

  • Better: Daltec cable delivery system, $13,530

  • Best: Daltec computer controlled delivery system, $25,500

Advantages

  • Harvest is completed quickly with no dryer bottle necks.

  • Reduced investment in drying and storage equipment

  • Feeding system is simple with least amount of management and potential maintenance problems.

  • Management of dry feeding system are well researched

  • Easiest to find labour to run this type of feeding system.

Disadvantages

  • Quality of corn received from local elevator can be variable.

  • Full drying and elevation costs are incurred. 25% – 15.5% = $18.74 / MT drying

  • Storage costs incurred.  $2.40 / MT per month totaling $18,493 per year.

  • Transportation cost incurred to return corn to farm. $10/MT totaling $14,010 per year.

 

Storage costs must be accounted for in this system. Below are the calculations there where used.




High Moisture Corn 

Principle Consideration:

To avoid significant corn drying expenses and/or prepared feed milling costs a workable solution is to store your corn in a high moisture corn format at 20%-30%. A sealed, oxygen limiting silo will allow the corn to ferment and store with little spoilage. The best way to mix and deliver feed with high moisture corn is with a computerized liquid feeding system.

Explanations:

Total cost of a Sealed concrete silo is $310,000 including site prep work, silo, unloader etc.

Due to the nature or handling HM corn, a higher repair and maintenance % is used.

Advantages:

  • Harvest can happen earlier and quickly.  25% moisture target

    •   With an earlier harvest time:

        • There is more time for manure application and fall tillage. 

        • less chance of molds to develop on corn.

        • Reduced chance of cobs dropping or stalks breaking down.

        • Longer day corn can be used to increase yield potential.

  • No corn drying costs are incurred.

  • Feed costs and feed conversation can be calculated since feeding computer records amounts sent to each valve.

  • Feed intake and efficiency should improve when feed

  • Day-to-day feed intakes are easily monitored showing signs of illness quickly.

  • Medications are easier to add to feed on a short-term basis.

  • Significant reduction on dust in feed room and pig rooms.

  • More of the corn’s phosphorus is available to swine in HM corn (166% increase) over dry corn.  With additional soaking with some Phytase, almost all the corn’s phosphorus is available to the pigs.  This not only eliminates cost of additional Phytase it also significantly reduces the amount of phosphorus in the manure.   CLICK HERE or HERE for U. of Guelph Studies.

  • Research has found less feed wasted from liquid feeding trough than a dry feeder resulting in an improved feed conversion. For studies demonstrating this click HERE

    4.4% growth improvement with fermented corn.  CLICK HERE for study details.

  • Using lower cost wet co-products is a possibility with a liquid system.Audemars Piguet Replica Watches

Disadvantages:

  • Significant initial cost to install sealed silo and computerized feeding system.

  • Once corn is fermented, it can only be fed to livestock.

  • Once exposed to air, HM corn begins to lose feed value so it needs to be used within 6 hours.

  • Liquid feeding system has more maintenance issues that can disrupt pig feeding.

  • Special skills required to operate and maintain computerized feeding system.

  • Stainless equipment needed to handle acidic/fermented high moisture corn.

  • Some loss of pen space due to feeding trough.

  • If corn moisture is below 20% when loaded into the silo additives needs be used to assist in fermentation.

  • Removal of corn from silo and handling / grinding is more difficult if corn moisture is above 30%.

 




Comparison Summary

The simplicity of a feed mill prepared feed system and off-farm corn drying & storage will be the best option for certain situations, for a variety of reasons. When making this choice be aware of the higher cost of production it will inure.

Drying & storing your own corn or working with high moisture corn takes some skill and some risks are present, but a sizable reduction in production costs are available to those taking this route.

The calculations in the charts below show that:

  • the prepared feed system incurs 4.8 times more costs then the high moisture and 2.8 times more cost then on-farm corn drying

  • The 4 feeding strategy options have sorted themselves into 2 groups.

    • Using prepared feed and off-farm corn drying results in similar feed costs

    • On-farm corn drying and High moisture corn are not as similar but they are comparable.

  • If liquid feeding isn’t an option, on-farm drying is the next best economical option

  • Feeding on-farm high moisture corn with a liquid feed system is the most economical option by far. It’s operating costs is about $9.00 less per pig then prepared feed & off-farm corn drying options. Compared to its closest option, on-farm drying, it has a $1.66 per pig advantage with a much simpler harvesting system, full use of the corn’s natural phosphorus and the ability to calculate feed conversions and cost per kg gained.

  • While it’s tempting to design a barn with equipment purchase price as the leading factor, you will make more money in the long run, designing a system that reduces feed costs and maximizes growth.







Conclusion

Computerized liquid feeding requires a particular skill set in operations and maintenance but those willing to do this can expect a significant reduction in feed costs.

Feeding system capital costs may seem significant at the moment of construction, but over the life span of the facility, it is a relatively small part of total operating costs.

While there is no feed strategy that will fit all business models, my hope is that this study helps you understand the costs over the long term of each system.




Thank you to those who’s assistance was much appreciated.

Harry Reid, MWI Silos, Hill and Hill Farms, John Ernewein Ltd, Laura Eastwood Swine Specialist of OMAFRA , Joe Dwyer and Mike Giffen of Dwyer Manufacturing

Making Feed Trough

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 billwatch photography CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Natt for playing along so we can get some video.

 

 

 

Piglet Viability

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.

(Reference 4)

 

 

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.

(Reference 7)

 



 

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.

 

 

 

Reference sources:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20190163

2. http://porkcrc.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/121211-E-Greenwood-Thesis.pdf

3. https://www.pig333.com/articles/effects-of-birth-weight-parity-and-litter-size-on-pig-performance-he_11619/

4. http://www.thepigsite.com/articles/5055/managing-large-litters/

5. http://www.thepigsite.com/articles/4533/optimising-output-per-sow-optipig/

6. Read entire article here: https://businesswales.gov.wales/farmingconnect/posts/improving-piglet-survival-nutritional-approach-sow-piglet

7. http://www.pigprogress.net/Special-Focus/Piglet-Feeding/Rescue-decks-improve-piglet-survival-rates/

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.

Enjoy.

 

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.

To see some in action click HERE or HERE

“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.

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