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Nursery performance focus for new piglet app

Producers can now plot graphs of average or batch performance and benchmark themselves against target data using a new piglet app we've developed.

The app, which is free to download from both IOS and Apple app stores, offers both look-up tables to understand target nursery performance figures as well as showing weaning weight variability so that feed specialists can offer bespoke recommendations on how best to feed all piglets on the farm.

“By comparing nursery performance against data gathered as part of our extensive trial programme on commercial UK farms, we’ve made it very simple to see the focus areas where improvements could be made, which ultimately will influence lifetime performance and profitability”, Primary Diets’ nutritionist Dr Sadie Douglas explained. 

The piglet app concentrates on several key areas:

  • Weaning weight distribution: Users input the number of pigs in a batch and average weaning weight.  This generates a population profile of weaning weights, showing the range from smallest to largest.  This function is helpful to suggest how to split pigs into pens by size and feed specialists can offer bespoke feeding advice to optimise each pen’s performance.
     
  • Growth curve: Users can enter average or multiple batch information into the app, which generates target nursery growth curves that include target top 10%, average and bottom 10% for comparison.  This simple solution shows how performance compares to industry expectations for weaning weights and provides insight on where to focus attention for performance improvement.
     
  • Feed intake predictor: This function provides expected and target feed intake figures for the nursery period, allowing users to see how feed intake on their unit compares to the UK average.  Differences will identify where there is room for improvement, for example is feed intake low immediately post-weaning, or is it stalling later on?
     
  • FCR look-up table: Providing typical FCR values from 10kg to slaughter, producers can see whether FCR performance is below, on or above target.

All graphs are produced using individual farm data (via user input), and the graphs can then be saved as pdf files and/or emailed directly from the app to their Primary Diets specialist if required.

The app does not capture and keep data; it just uses it at that moment to create the graphs.  This gives a guarantee that a user’s privacy cannot be breached.  “Because the app does not save data, it does mean it’s really important to save the graphs onto your device each time you use the app to make sure that the information remains at your fingertips for use in decision making”, Dr Douglas clarifies.

“The main benefits of using the app include continuous, up-to-date performance data in a format which allows producers to easily monitor interventions more readily, for example new feed regimes or changes to management practices, and being able to continually track performance on a regular basis”, she said.

This ‘go-to’ app for improving nursery performance can be found in app stores by searching ‘Primary Diets Piglet App’ and downloaded/used for free.