20 pig farmers and other interested guests visited Fancom for a meeting on ‘Smart Farming’ on 30 October, organised by VarkensNet in collaboration with Fancom.
After some introductory presentations and by working on practical cases in small groups, the participants got insight in the added value of automatic (and continuous) data collection and data analysis of the available data in the house. One practical case focused on a problem with ear biting in piglet sections. A second case described a situation in which the water intake in several sections lagged behind, resulting in a development lag. The participants set to work, using the diagrams of among others climate and water intake, to find the possible deviations and causes.
A lot of data is already automatically registered by the control computers in the house and is collected on the PC. In practice, however, the pig farmers hardly use this information. As a result of this, the pig farmer misses out on money, because the reaction to deviations in the company management comes too late. The biggest challenge will be to convert this growing amount of data into usable information, so that throughout the day the farmer can use this valuable information directly to manage his company.
Next, Nienke Dirkx of Wageningen UR Livestock Research gave an overview of the economic damage that pig farms sustain on a daily basis because no or too little action is taken. At the end of a production cycle this may lead to a loss of profit of several euros per delivered pig.
In a closing plenary meeting a considerable number of participants mentioned that they had become more aware of the fact that registering and analysing data is definitely worthwhile. They also established that all the available data needs to be reduced to usable information; in which section does the problem occur, what is the problem and which are the possible causes? In the opinion of the participants this should be the biggest challenge for the “inventors” of the new techniques and products, like Fancom. Make sure to simplify this for the pig farmer as much as possible. Also the required investments in new technology and the extra profits to be expected are a point of attention.