To help producers meet the unique nutritional needs of lactating sows, Nedap Livestock Management recently introduced Nedap Activator, an add-on to Nedap Farrowing Feeding that automatically drops feed when sows trigger an electronic sensor with their snouts.

Nedap Farrowing Feeding with wireless Activator gives producers more control to monitor and maximize feed intake during lactation with minimal labor, according to Nedap Livestock Management. The optional wireless Activator add-on offers a greater return on investment by helping pork producers reduce operational costs and boost sow and piglet performance through strategic feeding.

The Nedap Farrowing Feeder automatically delivers snack-sized feed portions to sows at regular intervals throughout the day to stimulate the appetite. Between scheduled feedings, the wireless Activator add-on enables sows to “ask” for additional appetizer-sized portions by moving the trigger with their snouts. Producers can easily mount the wireless Activator to feeders in new or existing farrowing feeding automatic feeding systems.

Nedap Farrowing Feeding with wireless Activator maximizes return on investment doing three things.

  1. Improving sow performance -- Nutrient requirements for sows are three times greater during lactation. Nedap Farrowing Feeding with wireless Activator can increase overall feed intake through demand-driven feeding to promote faster farrowing recovery while supporting body-condition score. Benefits include shorter farrow-to-breed intervals, quicker rebreeding and less early culling.
  2. Reducing labor costs -- Labor costs can be a burden for pork producers. The wireless Activator can reduce farrowing barn labor in multiple ways. First it automatically sends an alert if no feeding activity is detected for a predetermined period. Barn managers get to know exactly which sows need attention without manual feeder checks. That allows them to focus their time where they are needed most. Second wireless Activator’s demand-driven feeding requires less time to clean stale feed and manually drop feed. For Nedap customers, reducing labor time in farrowing has saved $28 per sow per year. For 1,000 sows, that’s $28,000 per year in labor savings.
  3. Increasing feed efficiency -- Wireless Activator can reduce feed costs, which account for 65 percent to 70 percent of pork production costs. Small demand-driven portions can avoid waste and unpalatable feed in the feeder. Wireless Activator is installed at the bottom of the feeder and can’t be triggered when covered by feed. Additionally Farrowing Feeding with wireless Activator provides feed intake data and enables producers to adjust feed rations and delivery rates to promote further efficiency.
  4. Boosting piglet performance -- Because Nedap Farrowing Feeding with wireless Activator stimulates appetite and maximizes the sow’s feed intake through increased feeding frequency, customers report more consistent and greater milk yields from sows. The result? Customers report a 50 percent reduction in farrowing pen mortality and as much as 1.65 pounds of additional weight per piglet at weaning.

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Cheryl Day is vice-president of business development in North America for Nedap Livestock Management.