The technology provides very precise measurement and/or control of dry feed delivery into individual pig feeders, incorporating a shut-off valve and control system to give unprecedented control for converting feed to weight gain.
If commercialised, it will fit into existing feed supply systems with minimal modification and will enhance profitability through the precise information it provides to piggery managers.
It can also be integrated with technology to automatically measure the live weight of pigs, indicating their rate of growth and feed conversion efficiency.
The value of this innovative technology was recognised at the recent joint CIGR/Society for Engineering in Agriculture Conference in Brisbane when it won the Best Agricultural Engineering Innovation Award for 2009.
First conceived in 2002 by Dr Thomas Banhazi, Senior Research Scientist at Pork CRC participant, South Australian Research and Development Institute, the system has been in development since 2006.
“The technology will take the calculation of pig feed conversion efficiency to a whole new level that simply isn’t available with current methods,” Dr Banhazi said.
“Commercialisation would provide pork producers with an accurate early warning system for pig health problems, by alerting them when feed isn’t being converted to appropriate, expected weight gain,” he said.
Dr Banhazi said the technology was undergoing small scale testing and field tests should be finalised by the end of the year. An international patent application was underway.
“There are still a few minor teething problems to be sorted out and when that’s done, we'll be producing a robust design with a view to commercialisation,” Dr Banhazi said.
Dr Thomas Banhazi, Senior Research Scientist at Pork CRC participant, South Australian Research and Development Institute and his team have developed a feed sensor as part of one of his Pork CRC research projects. The technology could offer unprecedented control for converting feed to weight gain