“We plan to fill the gaps that exist in automated individual feeding of weaners and finishers,” Jan Oord, marketing manager at the technology firm’s livestock management division, told FeedNavigator.
He was speaking following the North American launch of its farrow feeding technology at World Pork Expo 2015, earlier this month.
Nedap is now rolling out the automatic sow feeding system in China with installations to follow in the US swine market in the second half of 2015.
The system is designed, said the Dutch company, to allow each sow receive the correct amount of feed to maintain body condition during lactation and produce robust piglets.
Science and industry have long identified the strategy of maximizing feed intake during lactation as a critical factor in the reproductive performance and longevity of the modern sow.
But practical hurdles such as the daily adjustment of drop feeders or feed lines that only allow two feedings a day mean such a feeding program has not been widely adopted in commercial farm operations, said Oord.
He said the Nedap automatic feeding technology makes slow feeding of small portions multiple times easy – an approach that stimulates the sows’ appetite and increases their water intake, he added.
Return on investment
Oord said that in commercial test farms a return on investment on using the feeding technology was realized in less than two years.
A system involving sows taking small portions of feed multiple times a day dosed slowly prevents overeating and thus feed waste, he said.
“Each feed is a trigger for drinking, vital for milk production,” said Oord.
And he said the impact of this increased milk production and reduction in body condition loss is huge, with an immediate positive on costs and returns in piglet production:
“The reduced loss of sow body condition results in better sow fertility, higher performance in sequential parities and improved longevity.”
The feeding unit, said the firm, can be installed in farrowing pens or gestation crates, attaching to any trough, regardless of brand, with a doser.
Through the Nedap computerized program, facility managers enter individual feeding strategies – up to 24 per day – to optimize intake. The system, it continued, then dispenses feed through small increments during the day.