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Labor Free Way To Feed Dry Sows
A new labor-free sow feeding system developed in Europe and now being sold in the U.S. and Canada features "automatic stall feeding without stalls".
Called Porcode, it allows gestating sows to be loose housed, yet still be programmed for individual feeding. The amount fed per sow per day can be doled out once, twice or three times daily. However, a once a day regime has been most popular with producers who have used Porcode, says Craig Anderson, of Cattle Code America, marketers of the new system.
Each sow wears a collar with a batteryless responder attached. When she enters the feeding station and is identified via the responder as being eligible for feed, the rear gate locks shut so no other sow can enter the station. The computer then delivers a signal to the feed auger to dispense 1/10 lb. at a time in about 15 second intervals the sow's preset ration. Two different ingredients, such as ground oats and concentrate, can be programmed for specific amounts for each sow. After a preset amount of time when she's cleaned up her ration - usually in 3 to 5 min., depending on how much she's fed - the gate unlocks and the next sow waiting "in the wings" moves in to take her turn.
If the sow at the feeder backs a couple inches away from the feeder before she's cleaned up her allotted ration, the dosing auger will stop and the gates will unlock. This means that only a small 1/10 lb. dose of feed will be left in the feeder for the next sow - regardless of whether the "eating" sow consumed none or only half of her allotted ration.
Automatic, twice-a-day daily printouts pinpoint which sows consume less than 90% of their programmed ration, allowing the manager to identify off-feed sows the very first day the problem occurs.
One feed station and large feed computer will handle right at 50 sows. The combination sells for right at $6,000, or about $120 per sow. However, the computer is large enough for three feeding stations and upwards of 150 total sows. Additional feeding stations are $2,500 each. "On a per sow basis for 100 or more sows, the Porcode system with computer is cost competitive with individual stalls or tethers. Plus, you get advantages conventional stalls don't offer", Anderson points out. "Here, sows are free to move and thus have fewer foot and bone problems.. Feeding is automatic and labor free, and there's very little building cost in adapting the Porcode to existing facilities."
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Cattle Code America 9515 Seymour Avenue, Schiller Park, Ill. 60176 (ph 312 671-6444).

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #3