High Power Pork, a 6000-head Carthage System sow farm, has converted its feeding system from a conventional European-style electronic sow feeding system (ESF) to the Gestal 3G free-access feeding system and is also undergoing a group-housing retrofit with Jyga Technologies, manufacturer of Gestal, to accommodate the new system, according to a company release.
The original open pen system at High Power Pork had been in place since it opened in 2010 and was ready for an upgrade. 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 release says. They 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.
One of the benefits, the company says, in converting to a free-access feeding system is that it eliminates the need for a full-time worker focused solely on gilt training. The Gestal 3G is designed to imitate a gestation stall, so minimal to no training is needed.
Both Carthage and Gestal see this collaboration as an opportunity for commercial research applications and a practical approach to the documented benefits of parity segregated feeding, the release says. The units on site are equipped with paired feed blending units that all multiple diets and blends to be fed in each pen, as well as feeding to an animal’s parity-specific needs. The release notes that the transition between systems went well, with minimal disruption to production and negligible gating and pen changes.
The Gestal 3G was designed to fill a void 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, the release says.