Tim Miller, environmental specialist with Staffordshire-based ARM Buildings, says load-cells have been installed under feed bins on a number of units.
Linked to the Dicam monitoring system – which the company supplies free for the first 12 months with all new buildings — they provide a continuous and accurate check on feed consumption.
“If the bin is tared when empty, the producer knows exactly the weight of feed within it after a delivery. He can see on the farm’s computer how much feed the pigs are eating on a daily basis, so can work out how much a particular batch of pigs has consumed, enabling true feed conversion figures to be worked out,” said Tim.
“Farmers have also found it helpful to use monitoring to plan feed deliveries. The days of frantic phone calls to get a load before a holiday period are long gone as are those of having to go out and hit the side of the feed bins to guess the amount of feed remaining, are typical comments I’ve received from farmers using this system,” said Tim.
The system will also provide a very important early warning of any glitches in the feed supply, such as bridging in the bin, when no feed is being delivered despite the motor running. In addition, a drop in consumption can indicate a potential health problem with the pigs not eating as they should, he added.
The buildings need standard broadband connection, but if this is not available then a cellular connection can be installed.