The National Hog Farmer New Product Review Panel felt exhibitors at the 2007 World Pork Expo had added some good features to existing products, in addition to coming up with practical ways to address challenges producers may face in the future.
“We saw some new twists and improvements in existing products, in addition to taking a look at some timely products offered for the pork industry to address changes that may be coming about,” stated Jeff Feder, a veterinarian with Swine Vet Center, P.A., St. Peter, MN. Swine Vet Center focuses on swine health in addition to helping producer clients manage their swine operations, and conducts pork production research.
Jay Harmon, Iowa State University Extension agricultural engineer added, “Many companies are introducing products which address timely industry issues, such as changes in sow housing or improvements in facility management. These ranged from very simple, to relatively complex, but these should prove helpful to many producers.”
Marcia Shannon, University of Missouri Extension swine nutrition specialist, related, “Companies offered some good ideas to help producers to be more efficient.”
Dave Uttecht, a 4,700-sow, farrow-to-finish and farrow-to-feeder pig producer from Alpena, SD, noted, “We looked at products that would benefit everyone from very small to very large producers and for both independent producers and integrators. World Pork Expo has something for everybody, which is why it is such a good show to attend.”
The panel looked at new products that had been introduced to the industry within the last year. Following are more details about the products the panel found “most promising.” Products are not ranked in any particular order.
New Product Tour Review Panel
Click on a product below to read it's review
CALLMATIC 2 TRANSPONDER FEEDING SYSTEM  (Page 2)
BIG DUTCHMAN PIG NORTH AMERICA
HEALTHY EDGE PIG STARTER FEED  (Page 2)
LAND O'LAKES PURINA FEED, LLC
PHEROBOAR AND PHEROMATE  (Page 3)
PHEROTECH INTERNATIONAL, INC.
THE NESTING BOX  (Page 3)
NATURAL FARROWING SYSTEMS, LLC
WASH HAND II  (Page 4)
SWINE ROBOTICS, INC.
FIRST PULSE D  (Page 4)
RALCO NUTRITION, INC.
I-BOX  (Page 4)
AUTOMATED PRODUCTION SYSTEMS (AP)
INGELVAC CIRCOFLEX  (Page 5)
BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM VETMEDICA, INC.
WATER EASE TIP-TO-CLEAN WATERER  (Page 5)
A.J. O'MARA GROUP LLC
Big Dutchman's Callmatic 2 is a transponder feeding system for group-housed sows. An infrared sensor at the entrance door identifies that an animal is at the gate. An antenna located inside the trough flap reads the animal's electronic eartag. The trough opens only if the sow inside the station is entitled to receive feed.
The feeder is programmed to drop approximately ¼-lb. of feed and a shot of water every 60-70 seconds, with the amount based on the individual animal, explained Stan Skaro, president of S&S Ag Technologies, Inc., a Big Dutchman distributor. Sows can be fed all at once or they can return to the station multiple times until they receive their full allotment.
Skaro recommended a maximum of 55 to 60 animals per feeding station. The station is available for liquid or dry feeding and is all computer-controlled.
Jeff Feder, DVM, asked how long the system has been in use. Skaro noted the system is new to the United States, but the Callmatic 2 system has been in use for some time in Germany.
Dave Uttecht asked what type of electronic tags are necessary. Skaro said all ISO tags would work with the system. Jay Harmon wondered how close the tags need to be to the reader in order to register. Skaro explained the tags could be read at a distance of 6-7 in.
Harmon also asked about the power requirements to run the system and what type of protections were in place in the event of power failure or lighting strikes. Skaro explained the feeding stations are powered by 24-volt, direct current (DC) through the control circuits. “Computer surge protection and UPS systems are used to minimize power problems,” Skaro stated. “Most sow units have backup generators to supply emergency power.”
Marcia Shannon asked about the key maintenance points for the Callmatic 2 system. “Normal cleanup and system checks take care of the majority of problems,” Skaro said. “The most common problem isn't the station, but in the bridging of feed from the bin delivery system to the station.”
The Callmatic 2 system is available with a variety of options, such as hand-held tag readers and hand-held computer systems.
Prices vary depending upon the options that are included. The basic price of the system is around $14,000 for the first system and about $7,000 for additional feeding stations.
The first system comes with a computer capable of controlling up to 32 electronic sow-feeding stations. One computer is capable of maintaining a database for up to 5,000 sows.
Learn more at www.bigdutchman.com .
Healthy Edge Pig Starter is designed for older weaned pigs weighing12-15 lb. Land O'Lakes Purina Feed Swine Research developed the soft-moist pig starter to help support immunocompetence and maximize pig performance after weaning. Healthy Edge Pig Starter has a unique, soft granule form that focuses on optimum palatability for early acceptance.
Healthy Edge Pig Starter is sold in 40-lb. bags for around $25/bag. The product is not available in bulk. Jay Harmon asked about the expected shelf life and Suzanne Petersen, Land O'Lakes Purina Feed Brand marketing manager, said the shelf life is greater than five months for unopened bags, but once the bag is opened, it should be used within 3-4 days.
Jeff Feder, DVM, wondered if the product could be fed to younger pigs weighing less than 12 lb. “We don't recommend Healthy Edge Pig Starter for pigs weighing less than 12 lb. because their nutritional requirements are greater than those provided from Healthy Edge,” Petersen explained. Marcia Shannon inquired about the moisture content of the feed. Petersen replied the moisture content is proprietary information.
PheroBoar is designed for use as a boar substitute for detecting estrus in sows and gilts. The product can be used to determine the best timing for mating without the use of a boar, to supplement a heat check boar and fine-tune inseminations, or to sexually stimulate gilts and sows during heat for natural service, according to Andrew Lis, president and CEO of Pherotech International.
PheroBoar is all natural and water-based. “Just apply two sprays into a gilt's or sow's nostrils and in 10 seconds she will be locked up and relaxed and ready for artificial insemination (AI),” explained Pherotech's Eduardo Ovies. “You don't have to drag around a boar. The product can also be used for heat checking.” PheroBoar is non-pressurized, non-flammable and does not have an alcohol base.
Marcia Shannon asked how far away a producer should hold the dispenser from the pig's nostrils. Ovies recommended a 2-in. to 4-in. distance while spraying. “By spraying the individual, you are not impacting the other sows and gilts in the room like you would with a boar,” Shannon noted.
One $8 bottle treats around 50 females at two sprays per animal.
PheroMate is a pheromone spray that helps train new boars and increases vocalization and attentiveness of older boars. “Spray the boar two to three minutes before taking him to the collection area,” said Eduardo Ovies, Pherotech International. “You can also spray the (artificial) dummy sow.” Research at the University of Mexico shows it can help increase the volume of semen produced, Ovies said. PheroMate is all natural, non-pressurized and water-based.
Dave Uttecht asked where to purchase the product. Ovies said there are several U.S. distributors, or the product can be purchased directly from Pherotech.
One $9 bottle treats about 50 boars at four sprays per animal (two sprays on the boar and two on the semen collection dummy).
Learn more at www.pherotech.com .
The Nesting Box gives each sow a self-contained, polyethylene farrowing unit that replaces the farrowing crate. Each 5½ × 9-ft. Nesting Box is thermostatically controlled, has a creep area, multiple-position anti-crush rods and anti-crush boards. The Nesting Box has a solid top that can be lifted on or off, depending on the season. The units can be moved with a front-end loader. Sows can come and go from the unit while pigs are kept inside.
“This method utilizes the sow's natural instincts,” explained Chad Maxwell, managing director, Natural Farrowing System, LLC. Individual Nesting Box units can be connected to form grids or pods. The Nesting Box concept allows producers to farrow year-round in an unheated barn or hoop structure. Likewise, Maxwell says the Nesting Boxes reduce the atmospheric heating needs of a traditional farrowing house by 54%, and, depending on weaning dates, can double as a nursery. Nesting Boxes are sold in groups of six to 24.
Jay Harmon asked if there was enough air exchange in the boxes to avoid condensation. “The Nesting Boxes stay dry and we have not experienced any moisture buildup problems,” Maxwell answered.
The panel had some safety concerns related to processing pigs in the nesting boxes.
Maxwell said the Nesting Boxes are a good option for all sizes of producers who are interested in targeting niche markets without using farrowing crates.
“We can design Natural Farrowing Systems using the Nesting Boxes that can be scaled from 1,000 head of market hogs/year to 1,000 head of feeder pigs/week, meeting both niche and commodity production needs,” he explained.
Maxwell noted that he has received inquiries from large commercial producers interested in the niche markets, to show-pig producers, to insurance companies looking for a way to house pigs in the event of a disaster.
Marcia Shannon liked the convenience of being able to move the unit with a front-end loader. “You could power wash the panels quickly, too,” she noted.
The panel agreed the Nesting Boxes seemed like a cost-effective way for producers to get started in pork production.
A set of six Nesting Boxes sells for $1,390/unit, or a total cost of $8,340, while the 24-unit set sells for $1,178/box for a total of $28,260. All sets come complete with all necessary equipment, including thermostatic control elements and electric control panels.
Learn more by calling 866-391-7670 or www.naturalfarrowingsystem.com 
The Wash Hand II is a second-generation barn washer built to answer the challenges of modern pressure washing needs. The unit features new dual tip spray heads and an improved guide system.
A simple and flexible design allows the machine to do a tremendous amount of work. The Wash Hand II is designed to wash one side of an alley at a time and sprays about 10 ft. It can be set to spray ceilings, walls or floors.
“The strengths of this product are for use in the farrowing barn and nursery,” explained Jerome Mack, president of Swine Robotics, Inc. The Wash Hand II is a simplified version of the Wash Hand barn washer. Mack estimated it takes a person about 30 minutes to finish power washing a room after the Wash Hand II has completed its cycle. It is powered by a marine battery that will last approximately 30 hours between charges.
The panel liked the simplified version of the machine. “Lots of times, power washing is the job nobody wants,” Dave Uttecht noted.
The Wash Hand II sells for $6,995.
Learn more at www.swinerobotics.com .
First Pulse D is a refined colostrum nutritional supplement designed to improve the viability and livability of small and fall-behind piglets, explained Russell Fent, swine technical nutritionist with Ralco Nutrition, Inc.
“We wanted to be able to provide a product that would target pigs that really need a boost,” he explained. “If you can positively trigger the pig's desire to eat, then you dramatically increase the chances of that pig surviving and catching up with its littermates.”
First Pulse D provides a rich source of unique, bioactive peptides and nucleotides and contains oregano oil extract and refined vegetable oil. The product naturally helps stabilize the piglet immune system, restores piglet appetites and provides an immediate energy source.
Dave Uttecht asked about recommended age at treatment. Fent recommended focusing on the bottom one or two pigs in every litter within 24 hours after birth and any fall-back pigs in the farrowing house.
Jeff Feder, DVM, asked about dosing specifics. Fent said the product is typically given orally as one, 2-cc dose. Marcia Shannon learned from Jeff Knott, nutritionist with Ralco Nutrition, Inc., that the cost per dose of First Pulse D runs around 25¢/dose. The product does not require refrigeration.
Feder inquired about research trials, and Fent explained that previous data showed great benefit for the bottom 20% of pigs in the farrowing house. Additional experiments are underway.
“The benefit of this product is the way it is administered,” Shannon said. “I thought it was economical if it can help save pigs and get them back into production with the others.” Uttecht agreed, saying, “It seems to be easy to use as compared to some of the paste products. I am anxious to see the data from the current studies.”
Learn more at www.ralconutrition.com .
The I-Box from Automated Production Systems is a complete data management tool that can provide real-time information on feed inventory, feed consumption, water usage, animal weight, environmental conditions and even live, in-barn surveillance.
Current data and up to two years of historical data can be viewed or downloaded in report or graph form, from any computer equipped with an Internet connection and standard Internet Explorer software.
Multiple users can be looking at various types of information at one time because I-Box is actually an Internet server, explained Jeff Schoening, Automated Production Systems district sales manager. Different access levels can be set to allow specific information to be available to select users.
The I-Box's data flagging function gives the user the ability to set parameters on any function being monitored by the system. The user can receive notification by email, pager, or text messaging when any value is detected outside of the desired range. The system can also be set up to provide daily or weekly email reports.
Schoening said the I-Box works best with high-speed Internet connections, but can also be used with dial-up.
The panel agreed that the data collected could be a good tool for catching trends that may signal problems, such as a disease outbreak. They also pointed out that it is crucial to have a person in the operation who understands and monitors the data.
“This system does a good job of bringing water, feed and ventilation all together,” noted Jay Harmon. Jeff Feder, DVM, agreed, saying, “It is nice to be able to bring the data together and graph it so you can take a good look at the information.”
The cost is approximately $200-300/month, depending on the level of service.
Learn more at www.automatedproduction.com .
Ingelvac CircoFLEX provides producers with a one-time dose option for treating the early and late forms of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2).
“The single-dose vaccination is labeled for healthy pigs as young as 3 weeks of age, with duration of immunity of at least four months,” explained Erin Johnson, DVM, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica swine professional services. Ingelvac CircoFLEX provides advantages including less pig handling and stress, a 21-day withdrawal period and improved food safety and pork quality assurance benefits, according to Johnson.
Dave Uttecht asked if producers should vaccinate prior to weaning or just after weaning. Johnson recommended following label instructions for vaccinating pigs at 3 weeks of age or older. She added that Ingelvac CircoFLEX is available in 50-dose, 100-dose and 250-dose bottles.
Learn more at www.bi-vetmedica.com .
The Water Ease Tip-To-Clean waterer helps reduce water waste while providing an easy-to-clean watering option for wean-to-finish pigs. The adjustable water pipe and automatic fill valve keep the trough of the waterer filled to the level set by the producer.
“There is no way for the waterer to overflow, so there is no water waste to speak of,” explained John O'Mara, president of the A.J. O'Mara Group. “The large trough allows several pigs to drink simultaneously. Instead of having separate nipples, you only have one valve to deal with.”
Each drinking space will accommodate approximately 12 pigs on a side, according to O'Mara. When used in a fenceline, the 4-ft. Model WEA48T waterer is designed to efficiently supply water to 200 pigs from nursery to finish. The waterer may be situated for use on one side only, or can be set up for pigs to approach it from two sides. Several different size options are available.
The design of the Tip-To-Clean waterer makes it easy to install and to manage. A spring-loaded release makes the product very simple to keep clean by tipping the trough over.
The panel liked the ease with which the Water Ease Tip-To-Clean waterer could be cleaned. “If you are medicating, you know you've got the waterer cleaned out (when it's tipped),” Marcia Shannon noted.
Dave Uttecht liked the savings resulting from preventing water wastage and less maintenance. “Comparing the cost of this waterer to a nipple waterer, and looking at maintenance, the bigger the pen, the more economical this waterer becomes,” he said.
“In wean-to-finish barns it can be a challenge to get pigs started on water, and this seems like it could be a good way to get pigs to drink,” Jeff Feder stated. “It is simple, but it seems like a good idea.”
The WEA48T Model has a retail price of $708.
Learn more at www.ajomara.com .