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.
November 9, 2016
By Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Prep your House for the cold
Time will tell if this coming winter will be Ice Cold and Snowy like the Farmer’s Almanac predicts.
Either way, we are all looking for ways to save a few dollars this year on heating costs. Continue reading to find suggestions on how to do that.
INSIDE YOUR HOME
First thing to do is change the smoke alarm batteries and the whole unit if it’s more then 10 years old. It won’t save money but it could save you and your family’s life.
Look around for pricing on these 9 volt batteries. There can be a big difference from one place to another.
If your home has some windows that are not used often or really needs some help, a handy way to increase insulation value of the glass is to apply bubble wrap to them. In this video, just water is used to pre-spray the window, others have used a mixture of soapy water and bleach. Make sure you take it off every year or the bubble wrap will stick to the window and create a big job to scrape it off. (this keeps heat out in the summer too)
Putting seals behind light switches and receptacles stops drafts quickly with little effort. For $10 or $15 you probably can get enough of these seals to do your whole house. If you happen to have a heat gun, it would be interesting to check temperature of the switch or receptacle before and after you install the seal.
There is a Home Reno Rebate offered by the Ontario Gov’t through the Green Investment Fund that can give a $5000 rebate to qualified home owners. CLICK HERE for more information.
OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSE
Your outdoor air conditioner, bikes, BBQ and a host of other stuff that sits outside will last longer if you protect them from the elements. Specially made covers work fine but are expensive. Tarps often come on sale and can make a fine cover or watch this video so you can make covers for anything using common vapour barrier and an iron. CLICK HERE
Out door water taps need to be shut off and hoses disconnected. Closing any indoor valves will make sure nothing freezes and breaks this winter. Water spray guns and sprinklers will last longer if they are kept inside so any water doesn’t expand and break the little plastic parts inside.
To avoid spring time starting problems with your gas powered lawn mower you have two options:
empty the carburetor of gas by turning off the gas to the carburetor and let the engine run until it runs out of gas. This stops any chances of the gas gumming up the delicate parts inside the carburetor during it’s hibernation.
Add fuel stabilizer to your gas tank. Be sure to add the correct amount and let the engine run as prescribed by additive instructions.
November 2, 2016
By Gilbert VandenHeuvel
The Water We Take For Granted
Canadians have consistently ranked among the world’s highest users of water, with per capita water use well above that of European and many other industrialized nations. 329 liters per person per day. Usage has slowly decreased since 2001.
We all know that we have more fresh water then most people around the world. This leads us to undervalue this precious natural resource.
I do the same thing many of us do, leave water running when we don’t need to, water our lawns just for grass, or not using a low volume flush type toilet. With all this water around why bother reduce the amount of water you use?
The first step might be to learn how much water we do use.
It just takes a minute or two to take a household water survey that tells you how much water you use and shows you where around your house you use the most water. CLICK HERE
How are we wasting water around our home? Here are a few ideas.
One the most common and least productive wastes of water is a leaky pipe. The biggest culprit is the toilet, where leaks are more common because of frequent use. You’ll usually hear it if your toilet isn’t working properly. If it runs when it’s not in use, check the valves and inner parts. A plumber will be able to spot less obvious leaks. A worn-out pipe or broken o-ring could be adding gallons to your water bill. Have your pipes examined annually to prevent more serious problems.
SMALL LAUNDRY LOADS
That new shirt you love is dirty, but you’re dying to wear it out tonight. The simple answer is to throw it in the wash whether or not you can fill an entire load. Follow this pattern too many times, however, and you’ll see your water bill start to creep up. Not only will a little laundry self-control save you money, it will also save water. Stick to a laundry schedule, and wait until you have a full load to wash. If you just need that shirt, ask your relatives or roommates if they need anything washed.
When we waste one thing, we don’t think of the possibility that we’re wasting another. Wasting food has a documented ripple effect, however, and it’s especially important for Arizona residents. NPR reports that the 1.3 billion tons of food wasted every year equates to 45 trillion gallons of water. That’s nearly a quarter of all water used for agriculture. If the world stopped wasting food, the water crisis would be over.
Do your part to make use of all resources at your disposal.
It’s a luxury that many around the world don’t have, but showers constantly contribute to our water crisis. The average 4-minute shower with an old head uses 20 gallons of water. Replace it with a low-flow shower head and you can cut that down to 10 gallons and by using a WaterSense showerhead, you could save even more. Everyone needs a long shower every now and then, but regular 20-minute sessions put an unnecessary strain on the environment.
OVERWATERING THE LAWN
In an effort to keep lawns green, some residents tend to overwater. Not only does it waste water, it can actually lessen healthy growth. If you have a stubborn brown patch, try reconfiguring your sprinkler layout rather than upping the water dosage. Learn more about how to check your irrigation system for efficiency and how to water just the right amount.
In a broader world view, water is an important and divisive issue.
Today, nearly 1 billion people in the developing world don’t have access to water.
As soon as 2025, large parts of the world could experience perrennial water shortages, says Dr. Upmanu Lall, director of the Columbia Water Center and a leading expert on hydroclimatology, climate change adaptation, and risk analysis.
Australia is the driest populated continent on earth and can yield only a limited amount of freshwater. The average annual rainfall in Australia of 469mm a year is well below the global average. Despite this, Australians are the greatest per capita consumers of water, using an average of 100,000L of freshwater per person each year. Caitlin McGee, 2013
October 25, 2016
By Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Getting Ready for Wi*#@&ter
The last few days have been cold and windy. It’s exactly the kind of day that drags us out of warm fall weather fantasy and into the reality that winter is coming.
I guess our bodies have to get used to the cold weather. It’s like getting used to a sliver under your finger nail, I dread it.
I’ve always wonder why a 5 degree (Celsius) day in October feels so cold compared to how warm a 5 degree day in March feels. So, as I often do when I have a question, I googled it. Here’s a little experiment you can do that helps explain how we adapt to colder temperatures:
Try putting one hand in a bowl of hot water and the other in cold water for a few minutes, then put both in the same lukewarm water. Your hands will feel like they are experiencing different temperatures because they are comparing them to other stimulus. The same thing happens on a bigger scale; if you feel cold but others don’t, chances are they’ve experienced a lot of temperatures much colder and don’t feel as cold at that moment by comparison. (Taken from ELI5 Explain like I’m five)
This means you just keep wearing your light coat and tell yourself a little suffering now will make the cold days of winter easy. Let me know how it works out for you.
There’s lots of different things to get ready for winter. garden / lawn, your car, your house. Below is info for your car and Garden/Lawn. I’ll talk about house care next week.
Getting your car ready for winter should be a priority. Safety for you and your family and everyone else on the roads should be a priority.
Dead batteries are CAA’s most frequent distress call
Your battery has 35% less cranking power at 0 degrees C
Whitish deposit/corrosion on your battery terminals will cause poor connection. It can be cleaned off with a water & baking soda solution (or Pepsi/Coke) and a wire brush. Watch video HERE
Always remove the ground cable first so you don’t short out the battery.
Dwyer Mfg sells quality batteries for everything ranging from the lawn mower to tractor at great prices. Give us a call or email, and we’ll get you set up.
Basic car battery care video CLICK HERE. skip to the 55 second mark to get some good battery care tips.
Read this good article with step by step car battery care by Family Handy Man.com. CLICK HERE
For general car care here is a good video that covers it all. CLICK HERE
Here are a few tips:
Winter wiper blades are sturdier to handle the work load and have synthetic rubber blades so they stay flexible in the cold. Dwyer Mfg has what your car needs.
To keep your cooling system working it’s best don’t mix antifreeze green and yellow colours.
Spray lock de-icer into your car lock now, before they freeze
Apply a thin layer of Vaseline on your door gaskets so they don’t freeze to the car frame
Add Fuel Line Anti-Freeze to all your cars and tractors now, before you have trouble.
Keep your fuel tank as full as possible during cold weather to reduce the chance of condensation forming in your fuel tank
Lawn and Garden
Spring is traditionally the time we get excited about our lawns and gardens, but the fall is an important time too.
Controlling broad leaves weeds with a herbicide is much more effective in the fall then spraying in the spring. Why? In the fall plants are transferring nutrients into the roots to survive the winter. A herbicide will be carried along and kill the root compared to the spring when nutrients are going from root to plant not letting herbicide get to the roots.
Fall is a good time to reseed thin areas but make sure you cover the seed with mulch, clippings or straw so the birds don’t eat it all.
Here is a helpful video on some fall lawn tips. CLICK HERE
Your garden needs a good fall cleanup too. For the basics CLICK HERE.
One interesting tip I found was to use the ashes that have been building up in your fire pit to fertilize your soil for next years plants. (www.doityourself.com)
Use Ash on These Plants
Do Not Use Ash on These Acid Loving Plants
Potatoes. Ash promotes potato scab in potatoes
For a “how to” using wood ash as a fertilizer CLICK HERE
One last suggestion: As you tuck all the rakes, shovel and other tools away, vegetable oil works as good as any specialized product to coat the handles and metal parts.
By: Gilbert VandenHeuvel
July 20, 2016
Living and working on a farm has a certain charm to it. It’s unlike any other way of life.
The independence is fulfilling and daunting at the same time, the hands-on work lets you see exactly what you did at the end of the day and often makes your muscles ache.
Being a Food Producer has been an honour for me, I hope you see the importance of feeding the world as a calling as well.
Just like every job, every day isn’t a joy. Some are great, like seeing the newly emerging corn at sunrise, the smell of newly cut hay or a newly born animal walking for the first time, but other days seem to drag on and on making you wonder why you got up this morning.
Weather you believe farming is a way of life or strictly a business, it influences who you are. You develop patterns and habits that you think are normal.
I have news for you, Your Not Normal.
Don’t worry though, being normal is not something to be desired. Be yourself, be unique, be a FARMER!
The metal of a farmer is aptly described in this video:
Here is a list of actions that show that you have farmer in your blood, how many fit you or a farmer you know?
You know your a farmer when:
Having lunch in the field is as close to a picnic as you get.
You’ve used the line, “Sorry I have to do chores”, to get out of a bad date.
You see a good looking person in a truck and only check out the truck
“Lacey” or “Frilly” refers to a farm animal but not your nightgown
You’ve never thrown away a pail
Quality time with your hubby means you’ll have a flashlight in one hand and grabbing tools with the other.
You wear specific hats to farm sales, livestock auctions, and holidays.
“Sharing a cab” has nothing to do with a taxi and everything to do with the kids spending time with Dad or Grandpa.
You have used a chain saw to remodel your house
You can remember the fertilizer rate, herbicide rate and yields on a farm you rented 10 years ago, but cannot recall your wife’s birthday
Family weddings and special events are planned around sowing and harvest time.
Your family instantly becomes silent when the weather comes on the news
You consider designer clothes to have labels like “Massey Ferguson”, “Ford” and “John Deere”
You and your dog use the same tree
You buy your Christmas presents at the hardware/feed store
You consider a three piece suit to be coveralls, jacket and a cap
You give directions to your home by including the type and size of trees, and the breed of the cows located in the field and big rocks.
Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor
A MIG welder is a staple at most welding shops, as it is here at Dwyer Manufacturing.
Here’s a brief history of MIG welding:
Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding is a welding process in which an electric arc forms between a consumable wire electrode and the workpiece metal(s), which heats the workpiece metal(s), causing them to melt and join.
Along with the wire electrode, a shielding gas feeds through the welding gun, which shields the process from contaminants in the air.
Originally developed for welding aluminum and other non-ferrous materials in the 1940s, MIG welding was soon applied to steels because it provided faster welding time compared to other welding processes. The cost of inert gas limited its use in steels until several years later, when the use of semi-inert gases such as carbon dioxide became common. Further developments during the 1950s and 1960s gave the process more versatility and as a result, it became a highly used industrial process. Today, MIG is the most common industrial welding process, preferred for its versatility, speed and the relative ease of adapting the process to robotic automation. Unlike welding processes that do not employ a shielding gas, such as shielded metal arc welding, it is rarely used outdoors or in other areas of air volatility.
Most of us have seen a welder operate, but have you seen it in super slow motion?
Enjoy this clip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRIGks3gxG0
It’s common place, in almost every pig barn, a new door entrance set is carefully installed and used day in a day out. But soon enough the ammonia in the barn will start rusting that latch you use every day. Eventually it’ll become sharp enough to cut hands and start to malfunction which means more time spent installing another latch.
A Stainless Steel door latch and hinge set from Dwyer Mfg. removes the chore of replacing latches and hinges on a regular basis in a corrosive environment.
The twist lock version on the left is available for $49.30 and the Rod Latch (including hinges not shown) is selling for $34.90 until the end of May 2016.
Your time is valuable, do the job right the first time and enjoy it every day.
Often when your replacing the hinges or latches you find the screws have pulled out of the wall and/or the whole is too big to hold the replacement screw. Take a look at this DIY video on how to solve that problem with a golf tee. Click here.
Is it that time of year already? Most of the harvest is in now and Thanksgiving is upon us. I am not sure if the legends of the first Thanksgiving are true, but they do give us an idea of the reasons for the celebration. It was an opportunity to be thankful and to share with others.
Those to whom we need to be thankful this season are the farmers. If you have food on your table, in your fridge and cupboard, thank a farmer. Sometimes what arrives at the house from the grocery store hardly resembles something that came from a farm, but, nevertheless, it originated there. Perhaps it comes from a local farmer or one from Alberta, California or Mexico, but thank a farmer. The food we eat may come from a large operation, or it may come from a small, one family farm. Regardless, we thank a farmer. We thank a farmer for the long hours, the risks, the financial burdens and the worries, for without them, we would have no food. Few people in today’s world can grow or have sufficient knowledge to produce much in the line of their own food. Thank a farmer. From the turkey on your table, to the potatoes, the cranberries, the squash and the pumpkin pie with whipped cream, we thank a farmer, for without the farmer, we would starve.
The Earth is a huge boulder flying through space at incredible speeds, seemingly inert and unaware of the presence of any life upon its surface. Yet, there is a great deal of evidence that this life, as in human life, has done a great deal to affect the planet, especially in the last 150 years. We know that things are changing: carbon dioxide, methane and other ‘green house’ gas levels are increasing in our ever so thin atmosphere. We’ve been pumping, spraying and burning unchecked for a long time and so it is logical to assume that we do influence our environment, including climate. How much influence is another question?
Long before the industrial age, the Earth went through warming and cooling periods. Supposedly the earth was warmer during the millions of years of the dinosaurs. The last ‘Ice Age’ ended 10,000 years ago, give or take a day or two. And there was a ‘mini-ice age’ in the 14th to 18th centuries in which crops failed, glaciers grew and winters were long and harsh. Its causes have been attributed to sun spot activity, volcanic activity or ocean activity, or a combination of all these and perhaps other yet unknown elements. While we cannot say with 100% accuracy why it happened then or what is happening now to our climate and the rest of our environment, we cannot deny that something is happening and most probably, we, as human beings, have had some part to play.
It’s only logical to do our part in doing what we can for the environment. Following the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ motto makes sense. Making informed choices about our small corner of the world does make a difference. We don’t need to wait until there are definitive answers before we make changes at home, business or farm. Nor do we need to wait for a government to lead us. It is simply time to make small changes on a personal level so that we can “be the solution.”
For some more information, there’s an excellent article in the current edition of Better Farming.
THE STAINLESS STEEL ADVANTAGE
Here at Dwyer Manufacturing, we specialize in the manufacturing of stainless steel products. Stainless steel is created when a minimum of 10.5% chromium is added to molten steel. Probably the most popular grade out of the many types of stainless steel is 18-8 which that indicates that the steel contains 18% or more chromium and 8% nickel. Stainless steel forms a ‘sacrificial’ layer of chromium oxide on its surface which protects the steel below. Scratches, and cuts ‘self-heal’ by forming a new sacrificial layer making this type of steel very resistant to corrosion and stains all the way through, and not just on the top layer.
There are many advantages to using stainless steel. In addition to corrosion and stain resistance, it has a high strength to weight ratio, which allows a thinner gauge material to provide strength equal to a thicker, heaver gauge of steel. It is easy to cut, bend, weld and machine. Once fabricated, it is virtually maintenance free and has a very long life. It is non-porous and therefore hygienic, hence its popularity in hospitals, restaurants and other areas where sanitation is essential. Aesthetically, it is available in a wide variety of finishes.
Here at Dwyer Manufacturing we believe that the many advantages to using stainless steel outweigh the higher initial cost of materials in a cost-benefit analysis over using regular or galvanized steel: strength, long life and low maintenance.
For more information see the Stainless Steel Information Center at www.ssina.com
This year will mark the fortieth anniversary of the Ontario Pork Congress www.porkcongress.on.ca taking place at the Rotary Complex Stratford, Ontario on June 18th and 19th. The program showcases the latest developments, technologies, services and products for the swine industry. The Hog Jog on June 18th will raise funds this year for Stratford Wellspring Cancer Support Centre. Volunteers are still needed and participants welcomed. www.hogjog.ca
The Hospitality Tent this year features the musical talents of Kenny Munshaw and Fred Hale. As well, there is a complimentary BBQ lunch on both days and Sausages after 4:00 PM on day two. Stratford’s “Hog Wild Week” will finish with the Ribs and Blues Festival on the 20, 21 and 22.
There’s a little something for everyone at the Pork Congress and plenty to do and see to make it a full day. Come and visit us at the Dwyer Manufacturing Booth.
Most would not think about Dwyer Manufacturing when it comes time for choosing a wedding gift for a couple who are planning to marry this summer. We do however, have a few ideas that might be appropriate for the happy couple.
A stainless steel mailbox of any style can be made up and customized to suit any taste. Whether its a rural box-type or one that hangs by the front door, this is a very practical gift that will stand the test of time.
We are also happy to make a set of BBQ utensils that can be customized with the couples’ names, wedding date or even a wedding bell or two. If the newlyweds are gardeners a stainless steel garden planter might be in order. Again, a lasting gift that may be customized.
We are happy to work with you to design and make a unique gift for you. Please contact us with your thoughts and ideas.
A viable swine industry requires the maintenance of healthy stock from the farrow to the finish barn and everywhere in between. The prevention of diseases and maintaining production facilities disease free, the farms biosecurity, affects the financial security of the business regardless of its size.
Here’s an informative link to a guide provided through Ontario Pork. Keep Ontario pigs healthy and happy.