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Andy Roth with Temp Sensor

Standardizing Alarms to Optimize Pig Health

November 7, 2022

BarnTools Maddy McGarry Headshot

Maddy McGarry

Product Marketing Manager

Health challenges in the swine industry can emerge at the speed of light. Catching an illness before it escalates is the first step in keeping stifled production and death loss at bay.

Mike DeCap, manager of Grandview Farms, says their enterprise is leveraging reliable alarms with real-time data to detect and treat health issues before they hurt their performance.

Going All The Way

Grandview Farms headquartered in Eldridge, Iowa is monitoring 100% of their sites with BarnTalk. Mike originally discovered BarnTalk through a fellow producer. “The more that I dug into it, I could tell it was going to be something that the industry needed.”

Before transitioning their entire enterprise to BarnTalk, Grandview Farms was monitored with Sensaphone. Poor connectivity with the system was a persistent obstacle, something Mike says was a final straw.

“I was tired of dealing with broken home phones, or the Sensaphone working today and not working tomorrow.”

Mike says they frequently struggled with false alarms without any way of knowing if there was in fact a pressing emergency. In need of a better solution, Grandview Farms turned to BarnTalk for its dependable alarms, reliable connectivity, and 24/7 access to environmental data.

“BarnTalk has been a wonderful change and guide in my position. I can see inside my finishers, and I can recognize a problem before it gets there,” Mike said. “The connectivity is 100 times better.”

Managing Illness with Water Data

With BarnTalk, Mike says they’re monitoring real-time water readings to catch illnesses in their herd. “If a pig is sick, it won’t drink.”

When water consumption falls by 20%, Grandview Farms’ growers are required to inform management of the drop. Standardizing their approach to monitoring water intake has allowed them to detect illnesses more uniformly, and growers no longer have to make determinations with the naked eye alone.

“We’ve caught 10-15 groups on Day 1 of getting sick.” Normally, Mike says they would not be able to spot an illness until 2-3 days after it struck their pigs. By detecting health issues earlier than they’ve historically been able to, Grandview Farms is also cutting down treatment time from 7 days to 4-5 days.

“We are treating pigs faster than we ever have before.”

Using water meter alarms and by monitoring trends in consumption, Mike says they discovered that four of their water medicators were not working properly. “The only reason we know that now is because our growers are paying more attention to their water usage.”

Andy Roth
Pictured: Andy Roth, Grandview Farms

Visibility When It Matters Most

Grandview Farms’ has also started using Wireless Dry Contact Sensors to monitor generator run times. “If there’s a problem, we can go back and show when the generator ran. It starts every Tuesday, and it works just like clockwork. When the generator starts, it will trigger an alarm and time-stamp when the generator ran.”

At the end of the day, having full visibility into every barn under the watch of BarnTalk has helped transform how Grandview Farms is managing their production. “BarnTalk gives more accurate, real-time data at your fingertips,” Mike said, from seeing when someone forgot to adjust an alarm threshold, to determining how urgent an issue really is.

Mike says Grandview Farms’ switch to BarnTalk is playing a direct role in helping fulfill the industry’s commitment to producing healthy pigs and high-quality protein.

“We’re not just raising pigs, we’re raising pork for the consumer. There’s a lot of responsibility that goes along with that.”

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