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Smart Technology in the Barn is Becoming Smarter

March 15, 2024 | In the News

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The Maschoffs


By Randy Beckemeyer, director of facilities and projects at The Maschhoffs

Technology in the swine barn has taken off over the past 5+ years. We are no longer in the “olden days” when a pork producer had to physically drive to the site to see if the barn ventilation was operating correctly because he made a ventilation change the day before based on a snapshot in time. Human error is costly, and it may determine whether you make a profit or not at the end of the day.

Today’s technology allows the pork producer or farm manager to monitor barn conditions via their smartphone. This technology helps the producer respond to issues before they become a bigger problem. Not only can this technology monitor internal and external temperatures, but it can also monitor several other items such as power, humidity, carbon dioxide, ammonia, feed and manure pit levels. Producers can pull out their smartphones anywhere in the country and know exactly how the barn is operating and if the pigs are comfortable.

Smart technology is becoming smarter. Several companies now offer systems that work with the farmer’s needs. Maximus, AP and Barn Talk are examples of systems that show real-time insight into how the barn is performing. These systems collect data through sensors installed throughout the barn. This data is then compiled into a viewable dashboard on farm computer or on a cell phone so the producer can make adjustments on a quicker timeline. Depending on the producer’s needs, they can monitor either basic ventilation on the farm or they can have a fully customized monitoring system with several data inputs. This is also dependent on the manufacturer of the system and what is available.

The benefit of these systems is that the producer can now view multiple farms from their smartphone. They can retrieve real-time data collection and have remote access to help them make changes to ventilation or any other operation at the site. Another benefit is the multilingual language option that makes it simpler to manage in a diverse site. In addition, the producer can set values in the system and be notified by email, phone call or a text when something is going wrong at the barn. The farmer can also make informed decisions based on the data collected over a period of time. This data, once compiled, would allow the producer to make decisions to improve the welfare of the animal and optimize the ventilation systems to increase the comfort of the pig.

The profit margins for a swine farm are low right now. There’s a need to make better decisions that improve productivity and drive down costs. These systems, along with good production practices, can ensure healthy animal production and profitability.

The future of remote visibility of real-time barn conditions is here to stay and will only progress throughout the years to come. How will you take steps to adopt more technology on your farm?

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