A powerful next generation of one of the pig industry’s most popular environmental control systems is being launched at the British Pig and Poultry Fair (Stoneleigh Park, May 15-16).
Farmex’s new Dicam2 offers a huge advance over its predecessor in terms of features. One of these is that it allows remote access by mobile phones and tablets as well as laptops and desktop computers. This gives pig farmers the ability to check and control the environment of their piggeries from afar.
“Users can see immediately what is going on, acknowledge alarms and adjust settings,” said Farmex managing director, Hugh Crabtree.
“The chip is as powerful as a smart phone and can use multiple communication channels, including WiFi and Bluetooth. It will allow over-the-air programming, easy upgrades and servicing,” he added.
Dicam (Digital Interactive Control and Monitoring) was developed 25 years ago and, with over 6000 controllers still in use across the UK pig sector, it is estimated to have secured 30 per cent of the market. A big advantage is that it will be ‘backwards compatible’ with the old system, to maximise return on existing control investments.
The new system was developed over two years in conjunction with Mark Nowell of Dicam Technology Ltd and is another step forward in Precision Livestock Farming (PLF), or ‘Smart Farming’, pioneered by Farmex in pig production.
Livestock buildings can be monitored for numerous factors including temperature control, air flow, water and feed supply and even weight gain, allowing significant improvements in efficiency and productivity through fine-tuning. Indeed, in the United States it has even been used by large scale units for early disease detection.
“Farmers with extensive production systems are going to have to pay equal attention to regulatory compliance, health, welfare and traceability. Dicam2 is going to open the door to that for all pig producers, whatever production system they use,” said Hugh.
Dicam2 will be marketed at a similar price to its predecessor and is expected to attract attention not just in the UK but also from overseas.