Jamie-Robertson speaks at a conference

Improvements in home milling and mixing could save pig farmers more than 40% on energy bills, increase mill throughput and improve feed quality, a Scottish survey has shown.

A survey of 56 pig units by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) into the efficient use of energy in pig feed production found changes such as switching to night-time production could reduce feed costs by 38% or £3,000 for every 100,000 units used.

See also: Top tips on improving pig feed efficiency

Jamie Robertson (pictured), independent consultant, offers some practical tips on how to improve efficiency and save costs when home milling and mixing.

Power supply

  • Switching to night-time production could reduce feed milling costs by 38%.
  • There is 3.2p/unit difference in daytime tariff rates on units consuming more than 100,000 units a year.
  • This is worth more than £3,000 for each 100,000 units used.
  • Be aware of your contract end dates, as 7-8p/unit charges will revert to standard tariffs of between 10-12p/unit.

Power use

  • Switching to a larger-diameter screen size will take less power to push grain through.
  • A 6mm screen size reduced the power needed to mill 1t of feed by 17% to 9.1kWh/t (average 11kWh/t).
  • The 6mm screen size also required 15% less power to produce 1t of feed at 13.1kWh/t compared with the average of 15.3kWh/t.

Hammer and screen replacement

  • Stick to a regular maintenance schedule and replace hammers and screen regularly.
  • Energy consumption decreased by 3% after replacement of parts, from 91kWh/kg to 88kWh/kg of food produced.
  • Milling time increased by 2 minutes, but the quantity of food milled a minute increased by 5%, from 15.4kg to 16.2kg.

Food particle size

  • Regular machinery maintenance resulted in more consistent distribution of feed particle size and fewer large particles, improving feed digestion.
  • The percentage of 2,000mm particles decreased by 3% with new hammers.

Voltage optimisation

  • Voltage can be reduced in areas where it is higher than necessary, for example, lighting.
  • Savings of 10% are possible, but will require changes to electrical components.