Continuously monitoring of feed intake and daily growth of fattening pigs makes it possible for a farmer to respond quickly. As a result, farmers can better adjust during the finishing period. This is concluded by the NETwork ‘Cockpit finishers’, that was looking for a cockpit attention system for fattening pigs commissioned by the Productboard for Livestock and Meat. The NETwork was supported by VarkensNET.
Goal of the cockpit attention system is to draw a pig farmers’ attention easily and quickly when the daily growth and/or feed intake of the fattening pigs differ from the targeted figures.
Cockpit attention system
In 2013 the cockpit attention system with the parameters feed intake and live weight is developed and tested out at Swine Innovation Centre Sterksel and three practical farms. Weight is recorded at pen level in two pens within one unit, using PigScales from H&F Electronics. Feed intake is recorded at pen level via the Weda feed installation, both dry feed (SIC Sterksel) and liquid feed (practical farms). The cockpit attention system is developed by Agrovision and Porphyrio based on the input of the pig farmers in the NETwork.
The development of a cockpit attention system for fattening pigs gave the following results:
- Acute insight in deviating parameters
- Insight in the real en targeted performance during the fattening period: the pig farmer can adjust during the fattening period
- Insight in the actual feed conversion ratio
- At the long term insight in more frequently recurring deviations of the targeted performance
Tips and recommendations
When working with the cockpit attention system the following should be kept in mind:
- Farm specific curve and deviation: each farm has to give in the targeted curve for growth and feed intake including the deviation.
- Accuracy weighing data: working with a reliable and accurate weighing system is crucial. The results of three weighing systems that were tested at SIC Sterksel are described in flyers.
- Protocol feed corrections: pig farmers should (together with employees) use a protocol that describes the procedure of feed corrections.
- Registering weight: the best position of the weighing scales is an average pen (in terms of start weight, sexes and health) in a unit.
For the complete results of the NETwork supported by VarkensNET and more information about the cockpit attention system see the flyer ‘Cockpit vleesvarkens’ (in Dutch).