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Stormy Skies Barn

Ready for the Next Storm

July 17, 2023

Michael Leadership Icon Headshot

Michael Hansen


Have you ever heard the saying “Lightning never strikes the same place twice?” For growers using alarms connected to a landline, hotspot, or modem, this is anything but the reality.

Jonathan Hughes is a contract grower for Mountaire Farms in Lexington, North Carolina. For 21 years, he monitored his three breeder houses using Pro-Tech, an alarm that’s connected via landline. By relying on a single point of connection, the entire alarm system was brought down during power outages, rendering it useless.

Jonathan Hughes Side Crop
Jonathan Hughes
“The lightning was hard on those alarms — everything was hard-wired in,” Jonathan said. “We had a lightning strike that took out our alarm and tripped a breaker on our well pump, so the birds had no water. There was no way of knowing what happened.”

Aside from the With Pro-Tech , Jonathan could only be notified of alarms by a call center. Sometimes, he wasn’t informed of a problem until it was too late. “The call center called me for a false alarm, but they didn’t call in until the next day. That would’ve been a big problem.”

While the false alarm spared Jonathan from losing any birds, he couldn’t risk it happening again in the event of a real emergency. Even when he did receive alarm calls on time, Jonathan had no visibility into the problem at hand.

“The old Pro-Tech alarm would send calls, but there was no way of knowing what the alarm was for. I only had zones to go off of.”

Cutting The Cord

Jonathan’s days of using an unreliable alarm system were dwindling fast. Between lightning strikes taking out the system, and alarms that provided no visibility into his operation, he started looking for a better solution.

After discovering BarnTalk, Jonathan found that he no longer had to depend on landline service vulnerable to outages: Rural connectivity was already built into the system.

Compared to the $12,000 he spent on controllers in 2012 — not including the price of the hotspot needed for connectivity — Jonathan says BarnTalk is a more cost-effective way of having visibility into his breeder houses.

“If you had a mobile hotspot, you could have some visibility with the controller. But using BarnTalk prevents you from having to spend that money.”

Jonathan says he values being able to receive alarms and see conditions inside his chicken houses without having to be at his site. “My alarms show on the app, versus being an hour away and driving there for nothing.”

Jonathan has added family members who help with his birds to the BarnTalk CallTree so they can receive notifications if an alarm is triggered.

“BarnTalk gives me peace of mind in being able to identify a problem at the farm while I’m away, and to be able to relay that message to somebody on what to look for when I’m not here.”

Streamlining Data Collection

Today, Jonathan is using one BarnTalk Gateway to monitor temperature in each breeder house and in his egg rooms. “All of this data is going to help, especially the egg temperature rooms. The app shows a graph of temp fluctuation that will be helpful for hatching.”

Hughes Egg Room
Egg Room BarnTalk

With reliable connectivity and dependable alarms, Jonathan is maximizing data at his fingertips to optimize the performance of his birds and produce more efficiently.

“The possibilities of what you can monitor with BarnTalk is so much more than other alarms, especially older alarms.”

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