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Using the benefits of computerisation to the full

This might raise a few hackles in certain quarters! All the same, I am not denigrating the strides which computer-recording has taken over the past 15 years - just suggesting that the subject's progress seems to me to have levelled-out. Why do I say this? And what needs to be done?

This might raise a few hackles in certain quarters! All the same, I am not denigrating the strides which computer-recording has taken over the past 15 years - just suggesting that the subject's progress seems to me to have levelled-out.

Why do I say this? And what needs to be done?

First. Because in my job of a pig production problem solver, the first thing I ask for is to see the records, very preferably in advance of a farm visit. Clues are always present in the records. But I still need to struggle through too many columns of figures, having to analyse and disentangle the evidence which may lie hidden therein.

So… Second. Everything possible should be in graphical form. We piggy people are not naturally numerate like accountants, statisticians, commodity traders - and computer programmers! A graphical presentation overcomes this weakness. More than this - with practice, full graphical presentation allied to targets actually motivates pig technicians; I know many stockpeople who are now hooked on record-keeping and analysis once they have been using the 'graphics-against-target' concept.

Third. While a good physical performance is laudable, expressing the same data in an econometric form is vital and far more important in achieving a good bottom line.

Fourth. Very few recording schemes have a statistical overlay built in. For example:

• Suppose the farm is below target in one sector. Is this statistically significant over the period recorded? If not , ignore. Category 'Green'.

• Could it be if it occurs again next month/week? If so watch this carefully. Category 'Amber'.

• Is it significant enough to merit action? If so - do something at once. Category 'Red'.

Fifth. If in the 'Red, Action-Needed' category - what action? We know enough about remedial measures these days to be able to build them into the program in a series of checklists (I published over 60 of them in my 'Pig Production Problems' textbook recently, and more of them subsequently).These can be flagged up by the computer as soon as amber changes to red, or green to amber in other cases.

That's why I feel the recording firms need to change up a gear or two and make these ideas standard in their excellent recording schemes. Only a very few have done so, and even then only maybe one of them is used.

3 comments

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    Robin Traquair

    I completely agree.I still use easicare,I am looking to upgrade. What programme would you reccomend for a320 sow to finisher herd?
    John you spoke to our producer group near Edinburgh some time ago I trust you are keeping well
    Robin Traquair
    Wellington.farm@ntlworld.com

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    karen

    i haven't seen that kind of recording in computer where you can mark the most important task you needs to be done. it is a program that we need to buy?

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    Tacy

    I too am frustrated by software that "doesn't tell the truth" Are there any programs you can recommend? I manage 1250 start-to-finish operation. Thanks!

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