High Power Pork LLC., a 6000-head Carthage System sow farm, has recently undergone conversion from a conventional European-style electronic sow feeding system to the Gestal 3G free-access feeding system and is therefore announcing a group-housing retrofit with Jyga Technologies, manufacturer of Gestal.
Since its establishment in 2010, the farm has used pen housing. The original open pen system at High Power Pork LLC was ready for an upgrade and when evaluating remodel options for the farm, the team considered cost, previous experience with ESF, need for gilt acclimation in both stalls and ESF, and ease of installation. The team still wanted to utilize open pens with the flexibility of feeding diets by stage of pregnancy and body condition while decreasing the time required for training gilts on the system.
Advantages of Automated Swine Feeding System
The conversion from conventional European-style ESF to the Gestal 3G free-access feeding system has eliminated the need for a full-time worker focused solely on gilt training. Since the Gestal 3G is designed to imitate a gestation stall, minimal to no training is needed.
For Carthage and Gestal, the collaboration has created new opportunities to commercial research applications as well as a practical approach to the well-documented benefits of parity segregated feeding. All units on site are equipped with paired feed blending units that allow multiple diets and blends to be fed in each pen, as well as feeding to an animal’s parity-specific needs. Overall, Dr. Connor agreed that the conversion from conventional ESF to the Gestal free access feeding system proceeded well, with minimal disruption of production and negligible gating and pen changes.
Advantages of the Gestal 3G in Carthage’s farm
For Carthage, one of the major goals was to maintain target body condition score throughout all stages of gestation. The technical team assesses body condition at three points from weaning to farrowing and utilizes predetermined feed curves to maintain desired body condition.
The Gestal 3G was designed to fill a void in the market between free access stalls with no electronics/precision feeding capabilities and the over-mechanized European ESF. It is operated by the sow, with no need for solenoids or air compressors, thereby greatly reducing failure points.
Carthage Veterinary Service was founded in 1996 and has both grown and come to work in tandem with other business ventures, namely Professional Swine Management, LLC that oversees management for ~180,000 pigs. The company has reached the top 10 producers in the US (and top 20 globally). The future looks bright for The Carthage System with continued plans for expansion and growth across many Midwest states.