Moving pigs from their pens to weigh them creates stress and potentially reduces growth rates.

But using new technology developed by Osbornes International, that stress and subsequent performance check can be avoided.

Following the launch last year of Osbornes’ static video image analysis pig weight estimator, the company has now made a handheld version, enabling stockmen to gauge pig weights in a number of different pens using the same piece of equipment.

According to the company’s Martin Henderson, the Vista system has been proven to be accurate to within 5% when used as a fixed tool and while its accuracy may be slightly less when handheld, he believes it will still provide a valuable addition to pig management.

“The handheld system feeds information into a robust tablet computer which then uses the same software as the fixed system to translate an outline of the pig into an estimated weight.

To avoid any discrepancies with different operators the unit has a laser installed which sends a signal to the floor to make adjustments for operator height.”

And, unlike the fixed system, there is less chance of the handheld unit requiring maintenance, as provided it is stored appropriately it is less likely to be affected by rodents and other contaminants.