Batch systems can bring pig savings
USING a three-week batch management system can increase weaner returns by £2-3 a pig and reduce labour costs by up to £14/sow a year.
Demonstrating a new software package, due to be launched in the autumn, Hoechst Roussel product manager Uwe Gerecke showed the advantages of switching for one producer with 300 indoor sows.
"Three-week batch farrowing is a system where the herd is divided into seven batches. Farrowing takes place every three weeks rather than weekly as in a conventional system," explains Dr Gerecke.
Because work activities are concentrated over a shorter time period; weaning in week one, service in week two and farrowing in week three, efficiency of labour use is increased, says the company. According to the program, the producer with 300 indoor sows would reduce their labour requirement by 600 hours, leading to savings of £4200/year.
The program also predicts that numbers of pigs sold/sow a year would increase by two from 21.5 to 23.5. According to Hoechst Roussel vet Lucy Whitfield, this system also produces a more even batch of weaners which can increase returns by £2-3 a pig.
Midlands outdoor producer, Martin Parry says the three-week system means a producer can really focus on farrowing over a shorter period. "More pigs should survive because staff will be less tired and more alert than when farrowing is taking place all the time.
"It would also mean that planning holidays and time off would be easier," said Mr Parry.
Pig vets and consultants will have access to the software. By inputting data on animal numbers and existing accommodation, the program will calculate optimum use of existing buildings. It also includes a time planner and financial analysis software.