January 17, 2017
‘Spy in the sty’ proves its worth
Smart pig farming received the thumbs up from pig producers, industry opinion-formers and an independent technical innovation agency at a meeting in Reading, Berkshire, to mark a year of commercial trials.
A £300,000 project was set up 12 months ago to improve the efficiency of UK pig production through precision farming, supported by a 40 percent grant from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK (IUK).
Large-scale pig farmers commercially trialled the Barn Report Pro system which captures live data provided by sophisticated monitoring equipment installed in piggeries. This enables important management decisions to be made quickly rather than retrospectively, thus improving management and herd performance.
A consortium led by Dr Sadie Douglas, technical services manager for Farmex, one of the prime movers behind the scheme, demonstrated the commercial viability of the project on a large scale and under a variety of systems and management structures.
The IT input provides a wide range of benefits, including reduced water and energy waste, better ventilation and environment control together with vital data to allow improved management. It has also been shown to allow the prediction of the onset of disease outbreaks.
Agri-Tech Catalyst funding has enable the trialling of precision farming and management information systems on UK pig farms. It is great to see such close engagement with end-users, which is critical to ensure technology is developed to meet the challenges relevant to the farming sector, commented Tom Jenkins of IUK.
I am excited to see how the project outputs can be applied to improve performance and production efficiency on UK farms and on a global scale through emerging partnerships, he added.
The consortium involved in the project comprised D C & R J Allen & Partners, ARM Buildings Ltd, Farmex Ltd, Garth Pig Practice Ltd, J M Sankey, D A & E M Skinner, Stockcroft Ltd and Yorkwold Pigpro Ltd. Additional support was provided by sub-contractors Primary Diets and Dicam Technology.