National Survey Helps Pork Producers Better Utilize Auto-Sort Technology

CANADA - A national survey of pork producers who have adopted large group auto-sort systems in grower finisher barns is helping producers to make the best use of the technology, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 27 July 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

There has been a large increase in the size of grow finish barns in North America and in the use of automation for managing those groups...with mixed results.

Some have had tremendous success while others have been unable to match the performance they could get when housing animals in smaller groups.

The Prairie Swine Centre survey is intended to identify factors that have led to success or lack of success in these systems.

Information services manager Lee Whittington says the survey is helping define the challenges and the solutions that pork producers are coming up with and, by sharing these actual case studies, it will provide some encouragement that good results and satisfaction can be achieved by utilizing this technology.

Lee Whittington-Prairie Swine Centre

For example, some pork producers are seeing lower average daily gains when they move into a large group auto-sort barn style compared to their traditional barn style.

The solutions that seem to be evolving are that those producers who spend more time training pigs to utilize the equipment, that make sure that the size of the feeding area is large enough to accommodate the size of group they have, those producers who are making sure they have a sufficient number of these auto-sorters to service the size of the pen are having more success than producers who perhaps do not have enough auto-sorters or who have too small a feeding area and they are experiencing some lower average daily gains.

The survey was originally circulated last fall in western Canada, initial results were released in January and data is still being collected.

Producers who have not participated but would like to are encouraged to do so by October to allow the project to be completed by December.

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