ProGrow user case - monitoring the correlation between feed intake and growth

 

In the second half of 2018, SKOV performed some comprehensive user trials at one of our large customers in Eastern Europe. Throughout six months we monitored three batches of weaners to register the correlation between the daily feed intake and growth of weaners up to 30 kg. By analyzing the trial results and having Skype meetings with the customer every two weeks, the customer was able to optimize the production between each batch. It resulted in a 9 kg increase in feed intake on average per weaner between the first and third batch.


Trials
SKOV performed trials in August, October, and December of 2018. In each of the trial months, SKOV monitored two sections (A+B) of 1,400 weaners.

  • First batch – August 2018                     Section A = 1,400 weaners     Section B = 1,400 weaners
  • Second batch – October 2018             Section A = 1,400 weaners     Section B = 1,400 weaners
  • Third batch – December 2018            Section A = 1,400 weaners     Section B = 1,400 weaners

Feed intake was measured with DOL 99B feed weighers, and the weight of the weaners was calculated using four DOL 68 cameras per section (1,400 weaners). The unique camera technology uses an algorithm to estimate the pig's weight based on its surface.


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Measurements
First batch – August 2018 - 1,400 + 1,400 weaners

The first trial was conducted without any interference or changes in production. Meaning, it was monitoring the production at the site.

As the recordings show below, there are some significant breaks in the graph, where the weaners stop gaining weight or even decrease their weight.


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Second batch – October 2018 - 1,400 + 1,400 weaners

By analyzing the data from the first batch, it was now possible to make changes in production.

In the second batch, it was decided to increase the number of times the weaners were fed during the day - from the usual process of once a day to now feeding them four times a day.

Additionally, the amount of light in the house was increased from 1.5 hours a day in the first batch to 16 hours a day in the second batch.

The graphic below relates to the second batch, and it shows that increasing the number of feedings along with the number of hours of light leads to a smoother graph with fewer breaks.


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Third batch – December 2018 - 1,400 + 1,400 weaners

The good learnings from the second batch were continued in the third batch; feeding four times a day and 16 hours of light per day.

A feed change was gradually introduced to increase feed intake even more. Rather than switching from one type of feed to another from one day to the next, the new feed was gradually introduced by mixing it with the existing feed.

As you can see in the graph below, the gradual feed change had a positive impact on the weaners' growth, making the graph smoother.


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Results

When comparing the recordings from the three batches, you see below that the graphs from the third batch are significantly smoother, and that the weaners of this batch have gained more weight within the same time frame.
The smooth growth of the weaners in the third batch has resulted in higher feed intake. When we only looked at the recordings of the feed intake, it showed that the weaners in the third batch had consumed 9 kg of feed more than the weaners in the first batch on average; this is within the same time frame.


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What is 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 growth and feed intake. 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 and removal to recovery pen, as well as those that have died.

Read more and watch a video about ProGrow here.