Massive US pig business invests in British technology

British technology is being used on a huge North American pig enterprise to help it achieve top level performance, through precision farming.

The enterprise in centred on three 5,600-sow farms run by Thomas Livestock at Broken Bow, Nebraska, which finishes over 570,000 pigs a year.  In addition, another unit is currently under construction with three more in the pipeline which will bring total herd size to 22,400 sows.

One of the sow farms is currently producing 35.5 pigs per sow per year and to achieve these results with so many pigs requires a significant investment in high-quality labour at farrowing and careful control of the environment. To address these demands, the business is using British-made Dicam controls from Reading-based Farmex, alongside Barn Report Pro software and the provision of data services by local partner BRH Inc.

As a result, the business is now monitoring a raft of vital factors including temperature, controller settings, water, feed supply and even the weather.

“They required a production IT system to provide them with the numbers they need for real-time monitoring to better manage a production system of this scale,” commented Farmex managing director, Hugh Crabtree.

“We have been trading in the United States for nearly 20 years and have invested in training; bringing stockmen and managers over to the UK for ‘hands on’ high-tech experience at our Reading base.”

Mr Crabtree added that the level of sophistication used at Broken Bow is putting the herds involved in advance of any English herd and probably most European ones as well.

“The fact that a world-class pig producer has elected to use our technologies to harvest information on this scale is very important to us,” he said. “The market is now clearly investing in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) systems as a normal tool of production management.”


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