For the last time, the Danish agricultural show Agromek was held as an annual show. Although taking place virtually at the same time as EuroTier in Germany, the show had a lot of new innovations to offer pigproducers.
Innovations at Agromek, Herning, Denmark, 30 Nov – 3 Dec 2010
Pneumatic transport system
To get a balanced feed mix, many minerals have to be transported and mixed. Usually this is done mechanically, by means of spiral conveyors or buckets. These all have many components, which require maintenance and need replacement. This can become expensive as minerals are abrasive. In addition, mixing time is lost when the equipment is down, being repaired. Ogendahls Maskinfabrik have taken a different approach, gaining a three-star award for their pneumatic transport system which uses air, thereby reducing down time, maintenance and cleaning requirements.
Reduced ventilation in pig buildings impacts on the animals’ health and on the other hand, excessive ventilation costs money. Skov was awarded three stars for its Dynamic Air concept, ensuring improved minimum ventilation as well as optimising heat consumption. “A Dynamic Air sensor is placed near the air outlet flap which enables the climate computer to calculate the airflow in the exhaust unit with complete accuracy,” Skov explained. The company also finetuned its BioFlex air cleaning system. The modified system was fitted with a reliable washing robot for ammonia reduction.
How to cope with big litters? Split suckling is often used to make sure that all the piglets get milk, especially the smaller and lighter ones, to keep piglet weights even. The system involves shutting away half the litter at a time, but the task is labour intensive and in big farrowing houses some piglets may be forgotten and end up being locked in the creep box for far too long. Veng System’s Split Nurser (which was awarded two stars) opens the creep slide automatically, depending on the time that’s programmed in. A similar innovation was presented at EuroTier by MS Schippers.
Rape straw bedding
Bedding for pigs needs to be as absorbent as possible. Barley straw is better than wheat straw in this respect, but generally is not as available. Another alternative is bedding/ litter made from rape straw. In fact A.J. Energi makes four types of litter, ranging in degrees of fineness. The company importantly heat treats the straw, thereby sterilising it. In addition to using it as bedding, this product can be used to reduce smells and ammonia emissions from slurry silos. This is facilitated by covering the surface of the slurry with the rape straw litter.
Big Dutchman invariably comes up with innovative products for Agromek and the company triumphed again. Especially in these times of high feed prices, producers feed must not be wasted and so any aid to ensure waste is minimised is a bonus. The company gained a three-star award for their CallMatic ESF trough sensor, which continuously records the level of feed in the sow’s trough and how fast the sow eats. Via the feed computer, feed delivery can be matched to the speed at which the sow eats. Sows don’t waste time waiting for feed and so feeder throughput is maximised.
Skiold A/Sgained two stars for their transponder station. The station is adjustable in width to handle gilts and sows of all sizes. The feed trough has been specifically designed so that the sow can eat all her feed, so that none is wasted. Other features of the station are: An open front end to allow for easy inspection, plus an automatic flushing system which ensures that the sow always receives clean feed.
An additional feature is that one side of the station can be opened to allow access and for taking out feed samples, as required.
Outdoor pig production is attractive because of the green image it portrays. Denmark has quite a small outdoor pig sector and Astute, a new Danish company, exhibited their outdoor electronic sow feeder. It works off a 12 volt battery and the feed hopper can hold 200 kg. Astute suggests a guide price of 4,500 DKK per feeder system. ESF systems are activated by transponder tags which over the years have become smaller and smaller and, more significantly, cheaper. Agrisys-Nedap EID 25 eartags (photographed) are light, have a robust locking mechanism and don’t come off easily (two stars award).
Maximising productivity is vital especially in times of low prices and it’s vital piglets get off to a good start. Wet creep floors can lead to piglets getting chilled and so any new product which keeps floors dry is welcomed. Nordic Stald Kemi exhibited its two-star product which helps boost litter productivity. Nordic Fiber-Hyg contains potato fibre which helps dry out damp pen floors. Potato fibre contains starch which soaks up fluids. In addition, the potato fibre in Nordic Fiber-Hyg consequently has a beneficial effect on the gut health of piglets.