19 May 1995


A DUTCH wet feeding system won the Farm Electric/Pig Farming New Equipment Award for commercially available products.

Developed by Verkabel BV, the "Vario-mix" aims to give added control and allow ad lib feeding of cheap by-products to growing pigs.

"It can be used for feeds of up to 35% dry matter and will reduce waste," said Glyn Baker of Suffolk-based UK supplier Quality Equipment.

The system dispenses a 50ml dose of feed each time a pig pushes the nose flap on the hopper. A delay timer regulates the interval between each dose of feed. The time delay is set from 40 to 100 seconds, depending on the size of pig, to ensure the trough cannot be over-filled.

A double hopper to feed up to 24 pigs costs £420 and a controller which operates up to 12 units £180.

PIG producers can now upgrade to more flexible computer management software with Easicare 2000.

That is the claim of Easicares Ian Dawson, who maintains the new system, launched at the fair, is written in an international standard so it can be integrated easily with other farm management programs.

The existing Easicare package is from NPD, Driffield.

, already manages 1000 herds (26% of the UK herd) compared with PICs Pigtales system, which takes care of 5% of the UK herd.

The merger of the two breeding companies will concentrate development on the Easicare product. The revised Easicare 2000 will be available commercially from October free to all existing Easicare User Club members. Otherwise, cost for the monthly recording package is £450 and weekly recording £800.

&#8226 Easicare 2000 took first prize in the prototype equipment awards at the fair.

PIG producers are offered an alternative method of artificial insemination with the launch of gene transfer developed by pig breeders NPD.

It uses a "Gene Flat Pack" to store and transport boar semen. The pack reduces semen degradation, giving it an extra 18 hours viable life, claims NPDs John Behan.

"If the sow is receptive the flat pack will empty due to her physiological responses, ensuring minimal leakage and maximum results."

says Mr Behan. The system also uses a new disposable catheter designed to cause minimal irritation to the sow.

Insemination using a terminal sire costs from £4.25 to £8.35 plus postage.

SAVE electricity and keep your piglets warm with direct heat panels, says maker Riverina, which took second prize in the awards.

"The system will pay for itself in 2.5 litters, due to the low running cost," says Riverinas Ken Boomer.

A regulator keeps temperature constant, encouraging piglets to lie on the panel which is waterproof.

f and safe to use in all environments, he claims. Prices start from £80 for a 1200mm by 380mm pad.