Monitoring key factors of piggeries, such as temperature, water flow, electricity and feed supply augers, could have a huge impact on management efficiency and costs, according to Hugh Crabtree, managing director of Farmex.

Crabtree, who spoke to UK pig producers in Lincolnshire, said that monitoring should be used as a useful management tool. A drop in feed or water consumption, for example, could predict an outbreak of disease, allowing early intervention. This has been shown to save thousands of pounds on large-scale units, he said. “Monitoring piggeries has exposed much ignorance about the environment in which we keep our pigs, but it has also indicated simple ways to improve it — and save costs at the same time,” said Crabtree.

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Crabtree has worked with pig farmers in Europe, the U.S., Australia and England, and said that success in the piggery doesn’t depend upon the equipment, but on the people using that equipment. You can’t control what you don’t measure, and monitoring has shown that the greatest variable on any unit is not the pigs or the equipment, but the human being,” he said.