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"Improving technical results with electronic sow feeding and good management"

When Claus and Janny Pedersen from Gråsten, Denmark, expanded their sow farm in 2007, they switched to Nedap Electronic Sow Feeding. The automated feeding stations on Mariesminde, as the farm is called, have since become indispensable.

  The switch from sow boxes to group housing with transponders was backed by intensive support from Nedap, mainly because the system had not yet been widely tested. As a result, the people at Nedap were on hand to help them 24/7 " a huge benefit to the Pedersens. Several years down the line and the transponders are working really well, they say.  

Another major advantage of the automated feeding stations is that Nedap can monitor everything online with TeamViewer. "It 's all really straightforward. "  

Training shed
There are three feeding stations on both sides of the aisle in the group housing, and there is also a separate part of the barn with a transponder, which is the "˜training barn ' where the sows can get used to the equipment.

Calm prevails in the group housing barn. It is about 3 p.m. and most of the sows are lying on the ground dozing. Every now and again the occasional animal takes a look inside a feeding station. The piglet barn is designed so that a sow 's progeny stay together after weaning until they are sold on. But the pregnant sows form a completely mixed group in terms of age and stage of pregnancy, albeit split into two different barn sections.

"This is the best solution for us and we also think it 's the cheapest way of keeping pregnant sows in groups. We lose very few sows and they rarely abort, " says Janny, adding that they go over the group barn with the manure scraper every day. The sows are also checked thoroughly once a day for foot and other problems. "If it isn 't calm in the barn, that 's really hard to do. "

Liquid feed
Claus endorses the positive view of the feeding station. "I actually liked it as soon as I saw it for the first time at Agromek. All you need in the barn are a few fences. It 's much cheaper than other systems. " Interestingly, the sows are fed liquid feed. According to Claus and Janny, it 's a myth that you can only use dry feed with the transponders. "You can set the amount of liquid feed accurately too. "

About 80% of the grain component of the liquid feed (wheat, barley and oats) comes from the Pedersens ' own farm. They use 160 hectares for this, 110 hectares of which are their own property and the rest is leased. Soya meal and a vitamin mix round off the home-mixed feed.
Nedap Electronic Sow Feeding  

After being expanded and rebuilt four years ago, Mariesminde now has 480 sow places and is therefore as big as the permitted size for this location will allow. If the Pedersens want to expand any more, they will have to choose between moving or buying an additional farm. They did just that in 2003, when they bought a pig farm. About one-third of Marieminde 's 14,000 piglets per year are kept there. Claus does the work on this farm, and Janny looks after the sows with the help of a farm manager and an intern.   The other 9,000 piglets go to a regular buyer. "We only sell perfect piglets. Any animals that have something wrong with them, we keep. "

Productivity is developing very well. "We produce a status report in Agrosoft every three months, and we are seeing a slight improvement every time. " The latest report puts production at 29.5 weaned piglets per sow per annum. That is more than the average of 28.1 that was achieved by the Danish sow farming sector as a whole last year. The average per litter at Marieminde is 14.9 live born and 1.8 stillborn piglets. The result per sow per litter is 12.9 weaned pigs. Claus: "The better technical results are partly due to the Nedap system, combined with the gradual improvements in breeding. Management in the barn also plays a role. " As Janny says, a good farm manager removes bad sows straight away. "And we are lucky to have a really good farm manager at the moment. "  


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