When it comes to building a new sow barn, there are a lot of considerations that factor into the final design. One of the things we've learned as we've designed barns for our customers is that everyone has a wish list. We've also learned that while many customers know they want a less stressful setup, they may not necessarily know that barn technology can help with that goal. With that in mind, here is an infographic with five technologies that should not just be on your "wish" list, but your "must-have" list.
1. ESF with Forward Exit
Electronic feeders allow for precision feeding, helping you get the best results from the animals in your barn. Feeding systems that include a forward exit keep pigs calm and peaceful, allowing for a better barn flow and clearly delineated sleeping, eating, and dunging areas. Sows are encouraged to eat to satiety without the stress of backing into other hungry pigs.
2. Central Separation
Forward exit ESF is what makes central separation possible. With a forward exit system sows can be selected out of the herd based on their ear tag and placed into a holding pen. This makes pregnancy checks, vaccinations, wellness checks, and moving sows into farrowing areas that much easier on barn staff.
3. Heat Detection
By placing a boar pen where sows will pass it several times a day, sows who are in heat are encouraged to exhibit their natural curious behaviors. The computer system takes note of which sows are spending the most time near the boar and how long they are there; marking those who are suspected open with paint, and even selecting them for central separation if that is what works best for your barn.
4. Cloud-Based Pig Management
With most pig management data-entry based programs, data on how your animals are doing can be far removed from reality. Gone are the days of reactionary pig management. If you are using an ESF system like Nedap, second by second pig data is at your fingertips 24/7 through their cloud-based software, no matter where you are. This real-time data allows you to see trends and make management decisions before problems arise.
Proper air quality and good air flow are concerns for any barn, both for the safety of employees and animals. When you plan your barn, do your research and work with local ventilation experts who understand the ventilation challenges of your specific geographic region. There is no one-size-fits-all ventilation solution. Consider your options for heating and cooling carefully. It is much easier to make changes to ventilation before the barn structure is in place. Good ventilation systems should give you computer access to view and control the air quality.
We hope this "wish list" was helpful! If you're interested in learning more about what we do, click below!