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A.I. in a Hog Finisher – It Does Make Sense


New Standard Staff

AI in Finishing Barns-2

Sorting scales certainly have a mixed past. Love them or hate them, you should know with the application of recent technological advances, sorting scales should be something on your radar again. 


Around 20-25 years ago, sorting scales hit the market. Lots of suppliers, lots of hype. The problem was, they didn't help all that much. Most ended up on the scrap pile outside the barn. 


Farmers saw the benefits of the scales as mixed or voided based on: difficulties in training animals, lack of data (as only sorting by weight was happening), and poor unreliable electronics. Honestly, not enough upside to make it a worthwhile investment. 


The alternative to sorting scales wasn’t much better. The typical one size fits all approach, was dated and lacking. No route to get real-time information on pig weight and health. Accurate planning for delivery was stressful, leading to penalties at the packing plant. When the animals were ready, manual sorting and extra labor added to the expenses. 


Today is another story. 

Sorting scales are not what they used to be. 


The past mistakes and issues have not gone unnoticed. We have entered a new generation with incredible AI-like technological advances, that have been implemented by Nedap in this third generation of sorting scales. Today, we believe that we can make a compelling argument to why owning a sorting scale in your barn, is the right solution, and why the use of the term “AI” needs to change in producer’s minds.


Let's get down to the benefits. 


Efficient use of square footage 

Simply put, you get more animals in the same space. 

Firstly, there is no wasted space or loss of feeder capacity during shipping. Unlike most designs, Nedap does not use the food courts for holding animals during shipping. Plus, a Nedap barn layout allows the center walkway to be removed, freeing up wasted space. This helps to create efficiency in the barn layout.


Second, is the ability to double-stock animals at a younger age, which in a standard 40x220 ft. barn can allow you to finish as many as 200 more pigs per year.


The scales can have up to 1,200 animals during the training stages, and they can be separated into different pens later. This allows animals the proper square footage at all stages of growth while having more animals in the barn.


Third, is the efficient and smart training, using a combination of penning layout and software. Nedap technology is simple, allowing barn staff easier understanding of what needs to be done and when.


Feed Intake

What if you could feed your pigs based on their actual current weight and growth trends?

Adjustments to feed type can be made on the fly with real-time monitoring capabilities. No more wasted feed, and no more guessing when it's time to change out feed types. The right diet at the right time. 


Animal Health 

What if you could spot trend reduction of feed intake before illness takes hold?

This third generation of sorters can track the number of feeder visits, and send reports if there are sudden drops. This early warning to potential illness can help protect your bottom line. 


Supply Chain 

What if you could stop those over and underweight penalties at the packing house?

Current scales can now help you forecast when animals are ready to ship. In some cases, up to four weeks out. With cloud-based data, you can also share this information with your processor so they know when you're coming, and what they can expect. 

Labor Savings

"I love sorting pigs for market" said no one ever. All our scales incorporate three sorting doors. When animals are getting close, the machine sorts them into a market-ready pen. No more manual sorting. 

Path to these benefits 

We are not all building new finishing barns every year. So, how does this work with current buildings? 


We have remodeled plans for the most common building sizes. The most significant part of a remodel, is removing the extra gating. This can certainly be used elsewhere. Again, our efficient layouts eliminate the center aisle, allowing more room for animals. 


Are you planning a new construction? 

Barns planned with sorting scales typically cost less.


Less penning and gating, therefore less steel. While the scale itself has an up front cost to it, money spent on a scale can be treated as an investment that has a clear ROI, which cannot be said for regular penning.


It helps your bottom line. 

We all want a healthy bottom-line. Nedap PorkTuner sorting scales have incorporated the newest technology to give you trackable, predictable results, time after time. With the ability to: reduce feed waste, avoid packing house penalties, and add more animals in the same square footage; this generation of sorting scales makes sense. 





Time to fine tune your finishing barn? Contact New Standard Today for details. 

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Topics: Design, Nedap, Technology


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