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Farmex: Monitoring as a Management Tool

by 5m Editor
4 November 2011, at 9:35am

UK - Hugh Crabtree, managing director of Farmex, recently attended a meeting of the Fosseway Pig Discussion Group at Leadenham, Lincolnshire.

Farmex
Hugh Crabtree

"Success in the piggery doesn’t depend upon the equipment but on the people using that equipment. Management needs to recognise its own ignorance. Monitoring piggeries has exposed much ignorance about the environment in which we keep our pigs, but it has also indicated simple ways to improve it — and save costs at the same time," Mr Crabtree said.

He pointed out that while there was no need to measure everything, monitoring key factors such as temperature, water flow, electricity and feed supply augers, could have a huge effect.

For instance, monitoring the temperature in flat-deck rooms in a Suffolk flat-deck, enabled heating costs to be reduced from 31.27 per pig to just 41p, giving an annual saving of 38,877, through better management of ventilation rate.

Another practical example came from ARM Buildings who install monitoring equipment in their finishing houses as standard. BPEX figures showed that the electricity use was 16 kWh per finished pig, costing 31.41, compared with an industry average of 40kWh per pig, costing 33.52.

But Mr Crabtree warned that information provided by monitoring should be used to change old habits which were not necessarily based on factual information.

Monitoring should be used as a useful management tool. A drop in feed or water consumption could predict an outbreak of disease allowing early intervention. This has been shown to save thousand of pounds on large-scale units.

"You can’t control what you don’t measure and monitoring has shown that the greatest variable on any unit is not the pigs or the equipment — but the human being!"

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