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While the 2012 Summer will be remembered for breaking many weather records (of the wrong kind!), the wet and muddy conditions provided some testing situations for Astute feeders in the field.
Our pigs at Hinton ignored the unseasonal conditions and continued to feed consistently around the clock providing us with continuous data, thus proving that both the mechanical and electronic elements of the system functioned under all conditions.
Expect to hear more about Astute feeders in the coming months and keep checking this site for updates and new information. We are continually talking with producers looking to acquire and utilise our systems so if you are interested in learning more about our feeders, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Another evaluation is running gilts on the system from arrival on farm at eight weeks. It is monitoring 36 animals in all aspects of gilt development including weight gain, fertility and overall behaviour patterns against a control group in a conventional feeding setup. Early adoption of the the feeders (within 48 hours), has shown that new technology is no barrier to hungry weaners and feeding larger groups in smaller pens does not present any adverse or concerning behaviour among the animals.
Elsewhere feeders have been introduced to groups of gilts at twenty weeks as well as older dry sows, in each case adoption has been a relatively simple affair with expected feeding patterns establishing well within our estimations.
All this augers well for our first winter in the commercial arena and as more data becomes available, longer term and more acurate trend curves will appear. This is of increasing use when constructing and applying feed plans, something that is currently being actioned by the parent company in conjunction with specialist pig nutritionalists in Denmark.
The acquisition of three further evaluation sites around the country meant that we were able to install more feeders in July and August. Placing them in differing commercial situations gives us the opportunity to illustrate to producers the simplicity and versatility of the system.
We now have data streaming from a specialist rare breed unit supplying into the high end restaurant market where carcass confirmation and fat deposition is of paramount importance. So far sows running on this system have conformed to expectations at farrowing and finishers using the feeders have gone on to slaughter producing excellent quality carcasses.
The Pig and Poultry Fair hosted a diverse range of exhibitors and it was wonderful to meet so many representatives of different facets within the farming industry, from operators to specialist manufacturers. The glorious weather held out for the entirety, making for a particularly memorable visit to the fair ground this year.
We are proud that so many have shows us an interest at we will enjoy our following up.
Richard Rawlings and Anders Christensen