Any pig farmer knows just how difficult it can be to maintain a herd and ensure its profitability. Not only must animals be kept healthy; they must achieve and maintain a specific weight by a certain date to ensure that the highest number of pigs qualify for the packer’s accurate weight bonuses.
Why Livestock Scales are Necessary
Scales are not just used to determine the weight of animals being brought to market. They also assist herders in monitoring the weights of herd members so that feed and medicine can be distributed according to the animals’ needs. There are various feed formulations and different sized rations that herders use to obtain an optimal weight for each animal. However, to determine the quantity and type of ration, the current weight of the pig must be determined. Weighing a pig can be an extremely difficult task. On average, piglets weigh eight to ten pounds, while pigs ready for market weigh around 300 pounds. When it comes to weighing an entire herd of full grown pigs, it can be extremely difficult to get an animal of that size and temperament to cooperate and stand on a scale long enough and still enough to achieve an accurate reading. So how do swine herders manage to determine which members of the herd are too small, too large, or at the perfect weight? Once they determine this, what system do they use to separate different weight classes into different pens where they can monitor the type and amount of feed? Until now, the answer varied.
Arlyn Scales Automated Pig Sorter
Smart Sort Innovation, a division of Arlyn Scales, has designed and continues to manufacture our Automated Pig Sorter scales in their entirety. From the load cells to the cages and the electronics, all of the different systems have been designed to integrate with one another flawlessly. While other providers of similar equipment purchase and assemble components from a variety of vendors and suppliers, Arlyn Scales and Smart Sort Innovation dedicated a ten person team with six engineers and four programmers to find a solution that actually met the needs of swine herders the world over. Our next generation, user-friendly design guarantees that you receive a product that actually makes maintaining your herd and your records as quick and simple as possible.
How the Automated Pig Sorter Works
A pig barn is designed with different pens and areas for the pigs, which are all separated by fencing. The hogs spend most of their time in a general holding area. When they eat, they must walk down a fenced path to the feeding area. We have found that the simplest way to weigh the hogs and filter them into the proper feeding area is by incorporating our sorting scale into the pathway that leads to the feeding pen. Of course, it takes time to get pigs acclimated to walking across the scale. When the pigs are young, the Sorter is put into “Training Mode”, which allows the operator enough flexibility to get the pigs accustomed to the Sorter. The first mode leaves the entry and exit doors open so that the piglet can walk freely through the Sorter. Once this has become natural to them, the second training mode will swing the entry door shut behind the piglet, though the exit door remains open. Once they are used to this, the Sorter can be put into regular operation where the exit door remains closed and the entry door shuts while the pig is on the scale. Once a weight is taken, the exit door will open, leading the pig to the feeding pen. However, because different pigs will need different types of feed, there are 2-way, 3-way, and 5-way options. Constructed with one to three swing gates, depending on the option chosen, an operator can choose which gate to open, allowing the pig to only exit the Sorter in the direction of the feed lot that meets their nutrient requirements. While the pig is contained within the Sorter by the closed entry and exit doors, they are standing on a scale. Because stress can negatively affect the weight of the pigs, the housing chamber has been designed with an open frame that allows for freedom of movement. The scale platform has been equipped with a comfortable easy-to-clean rubber mat. The default mode is failsafe at preventing injuries. Weighing time has been significantly reduced with the design and engineering incorporated into the Sorter. As the pig stands on the scale, the scale will take many readings within seconds. Due to the certainty that most pigs will be moving, we have incorporated a sophisticated algorithm to eliminate readings taken when there is too much movement. The scale determines when it has calculated an accurate weight. When this happens, the weight is recorded and the exit gate is opened so the pig can walk to the designated feeding pen. If there is a particularly feisty pig that makes continuous violent movements while on the scale, the scale will simply average all of the readings and record them after a preset amount of time, then open the exit gate. Though pigs usually weigh only around 300 pounds, the Sorter scale has a capacity of 800 pounds to ensure that no damage to the scale or load cells occurs from such violent movement, which places extra strain on the scale’s mechanisms. A herder also has the option to purchase the Sorter with RFID ear tag reading capability. This allows one to keep track of records for individual pigs. Using radio frequency, the reader sends the tag ID to the Sorter Controller, where it is displayed on the digital indicator and recorded. We offer a variety of connectivity options on each of our pig sorters to ensure that data can be transmitted and stored using the most preferred method. Using Ethernet, USB, or one of our other options, weight gain can be monitored over time. Data analysis can be employed to design diets and develop feed budgets. Our Automated Pig Sorters allow you to keep your barn on a quick schedule and a tight weight range, make better use of your space by minimizing the size of the alley, reduce the herd’s stress levels and improve their health, reduce labor costs, and qualify more pigs for packer’s accurate weight bonuses. To learn more about our Automated Pig Sorter or make a purchase request, please contact us using our online form or call one of our experts at (516)593-4465.