“Remodeling our barn was an easy and inexpensive route to take,” says Denys. “It was an easy choice to go with Nedap. They’ve been around for a long time – they’re not a fly-by-night company and have an excellent support team.”
To free up space for construction, Denys moved some sows into an old gestation barn and shipped market hogs light for a short time. He tore out stalls and did minor concrete work in half of the barn while sows remained in stalls in the other half. Then he moved his sows to the renovated side and pulled the rest of the stalls. Once the work was complete, he repopulated the barn with his herd.
“There were no start-up problems, nothing,” Denys says. “Everything worked really great.”
The Nedap team helped Denys design his new pen with resting areas over the solid walkways of the original flooring. The slatted sections of the original floor became walkways and dunging areas. The barn now consists of one pen for a group of about 216 sows.
“Two of my biggest costs are feed and labor, and we are able to manage them more efficiently with Nedap Electronic Sow Feeding, Automatic Sow Separation and Automated Heat Detection,” says Hope. Hope built his barn in the spring of 2017 near Parkhill, Ontario. The 1,300- head sow operation includes 17 Nedap Electronic Sow Feeders and dynamic groups of about 240 sows per pen. Hope also has 900 sows in a rented stalled barn nearby and can compare the operations to see how the Nedap system is helping him work more efficiently.
Hope admits he was wary to jump into loose sow housing, but after moving sows into the barn and using the system, he quickly saw how well it works. “Overall, we’re saving two hours a day in the barn,” says Hope. Automated heat detection saves time because Hope doesn’t have to walk a boar to check for open sows. Instead, the boar is in an enclosed pen near the feeder exit within the gestation pen. Nedap’s RFID technology tracks how often and how long sows stop to interact with the boar. “We’re spending less time going up and down our breeding rows to look for return sows because the boar is finding those girls for us,” says Hope.
Nedap Automatic Sow Separation reduces labor because Hope doesn’t have to search for animals. The system sorts out sows that need Hope’s attention, including those the automated heat detection system identified as open or sows scheduled to move to farrowing.
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