Growth sensor system moves up a gear only six months after official launch

On-farm refinements made to a recently launched growth sensor system are giving users greater information accuracy than was previously possible, according to the consortium of companies behind the development.

Designed to enable producers to record growth rates and feed conversion figures for their pigs on a daily, or even hourly, basis, the sensor was launched at the British Pig and Poultry Fair in May by Farmex, ARM Buildings and Dicam Technology, with grant funding from Innovate UK.

Built to operate with either platform or bridge-type weighing devices, the sensor’s exposure to on-farm use has identified “particular advantages” for the bridge-type option.

“It was found that the platform-type was easily deformed by muck build-up, giving less accurate readings whereas the bridge-type is not affected in this way,” said Farmex managing director, Hugh Crabtree, who led the development.

Additional work has also been done on data filtration, which is also claimed to be giving “further improvements in accuracy”.

“The system now recognises if a pig is lying on the scale for an extended period and is better at rejecting part-weighings,” said Mr Crabtree. “This means the number of recorded observations has fallen but the values are more reliable and accurate.”

As a result, farmers using this system are already reporting significant benefits from having accurate growth data in real time.

“One producer has said it will help with breeding selection, while another just wants the growth sensor to text him when the first 110 kg pig is recorded,” said Mr Crabtree.


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