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'Visual imaging will quickly pay for itself'

by 5m Editor
15 September 2006, at 10:22am

UK - Visual imaging in pig pens may cost several thousand pounds but as 20 percent of pigs going into abattoirs are outside their targeted weight bands it will pay for itself in just a few months.

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National Pig Association
THE VOICE OF THE UK PIG INDUSTRY

NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & Whitehall, and with processors, supermarkets & caterers - fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.

This was the view of members at yesterday’s meeting of NPA’s allied industry committee.

The price of visual imaging equipment has tumbled from 310,000 to 33,000, said Mark Wilson, BPEX director of pig industry research.

BPEX is currently involved with a Silsoe project to evaluate hand-held visual imaging that allow’s producers to get more pigs ‘in the box’.

It could be argued that abattoirs might welcome 10-15 percent of pigs being out-of-spec, as this helps keep the overall price down. But Dan Day, of Grampian, was clear that a reduction in the current high rates of too-heavy or too-light pigs would be much appreciated.

The commercial manifestation of the Silsoe visual imaging project is Osborne (Europe) Limited’s Vista system which is already working on farms and can calculate a pig‘s weight as accurately as conventional manual systems.

There is a view that one day visual imaging will become the norm on pig farms, either with cameras being located above feeders or with stockmen using hand-held devices.

Currently on many units staff cuts mean pigs are not weighed conscientiously, if at all. It would probably be worth employing someone specifically to come in to operate a weigh-crate, suggested Mark Wilson. “A weigh crate doesn’t take long to give you a return on your investment.“

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