In collaboration with the Danish feed manufacturer, Hedegaard, Thomas Sinding installed the ProGrow cameras from SKOV over the feed areas in four of his weaner pens. The cameras take a picture every time, a pig stands below it, and an algorithm calculates the pig’s weight with a 97% accuracy. Every day, each camera takes between 600 and 800 pictures.
Anders Amstrup, Hedegaard (left), Thomas Sinding, farmer (middle), and Hans Ulrik Jensen, SKOV (right) in one of the four weaner pens installed with cameras. Photo: Christian Carus.
Weaner growth and feed
Previously, Thomas Sinding had to rely on historical data from batch reports every three months. It made it challenging to identify the cause of any non-optimal results and it was too late to make any corrections.
Via ProGrow, Thomas Sinding can now follow the weight measurements in real time on his computer, making it easy to adjust before the production is compromised. The system also makes it easier to evaluate the different types of feed used for the weaners.
"Earlier, we knew too little about weaners' growth because we had to rely on historical data. Now,
we're able to monitor the weaners' growth from batch to batch and instantly see the difference when switching between feed type 1, 2, 3, and so on", says Thomas Sinding.
Years ago, the team on the farm tried to monitor the weaners' growth by weighing them in batches on scales in the pen.
"But everything landed on my desk, and after a year we stopped weighing them. It simply took too much time, and we didn't benefit enough from it. With the camera weighing system, everything is automatic and does not involve any effort from us", concludes Thomas Sinding.
The great value of data
ProGrow shows the correlation between feed intake and growth, in real time, giving the farmer a day-to-day insight into his production.
"We use the information to see how many days old the weaners are when they reach 9, 15, and 25 kilos, and to identify the growth rate in the different intervals. It lets us know where the curve breaks, and we might be able to make corrections."
The data has given Thomas Sinding and his team the knowledge to change and adjust the feed several times. Today, they use a more expensive feed but have seen that the contribution margin per pig has increased similarly.
The farmer is still the most crucial factor
While camera weighing is a great tool for monitoring the production and identify areas to improve, SKOV's Pig Production Specialist, Hans Ulrik Jensen points to the farmer as the real expert:
"Monitoring growth with ProGrow doesn't provide you with solutions – it's rather a tool for the farmer. He gets a better understanding of his production and can optimize based on facts."
The camera installed over one of the pens. Photo: Christian Carus.
More cameras over time
Right now, Thomas Sinding profits by using the four installed cameras. He uses them to adjust the rest of his production.
"With a production size like mine, the four reference pens work fine. In a year or two, we might install more cameras to get a full overview of all pens."
Learn more about ProGrow
ProGrow is a system developed by SKOV to give you a unique insight into your day-to-day operation. By getting a clear overview of data, you can see the correlation between feed intake and growth. If the optimal production conditions are compromised, it will show in the data, and you can adjust parameters right away before the production is affected.
The system includes an integrated climate and production computer, which controls ventilation, heating and cooling, the dry feeding system, monitors feed and water consumption, and provides the opportunity for registering animals for sale/delivery/removal to recovery pen, as well as dead pigs. Read more and watch a video about ProGrow here: