Meeting the exact nutrient requirements of sows and finishers through bespoke feed rations was the focus of two keynote speakers at this year’s BPEX Innovation Conference.
Richard Hooper and Phil Stephenson cited key benefits of lowering feed costs per pig, as well as a reduction in labour intensity and less feed wastage. As a result, overall feed savings of up to 10% were identifed, although the systems do demand high initial investment.
Hooper manages a 240-sow indoor unit at Harper Adams University. He has introduced a 'multifast' feeding system that delivers a specific blend of feed to each pen of finishers to meet each pig's nutritional requirements more accurately to support lean growth. "The improvements in feed conversion efficiency and reduction in nutrient excretion far outweigh the £80,000 investment costs," he said.
Trials carried out at the University using the 'mulitfast' system have found that feed blending can save as much as £5 per pig reared. "It is important to consider that this figure will vary on each unit depending on the current feeding system. Nonetheless, the findings are very encouraging for the industry," explained Richard.
Next up, Phil Stephenson owner and manager of a 700 sow, indoor farrow to finish unit spoke about his Gestal wireless feeding system. "It's used in the farrowing house and ensures that each sow receives the correct amount of feed based on her parity. This varies between two feeds a day up to farrowing and six feeds a day post farrowing.
"The computer software allows each individual sow to be monitored from my office. The data produced means that I can nip any issue in the bud before it becomes too serious," noted Stephenson.
He informed delegates that the investment had definitely been worthwhile. "Overall, we have seen more efficient and profitable pig production and the implementation of the wireless lactating sow feeder has saved my business as much as £20,000 since installation."
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