Thomas Livestock has three 5,600-sow farms at Broken Bow, Nebraska, finishing over 570,000 pigs annually. Another unit is currently under construction with three more in the pipeline which will bring total herd size to 22,4000 sows.

One of the sow farms is currently producing 35.5 pigs per sow per year. To achieve these results with this many pigs needs a significant investment in high-quality labour at farrowing and careful control of the environment. This has been facilitated by Reading-based Farmex through their Dicam controls, Barn Report Pro software and the provision of data services by local partner BRH Inc.

Thomas Livestock is now monitoring a raft of vital factors including temperature, controller settings, water, feed supply and even the weather.

“They required a production IT system to provide them with the numbers they need for real-time monitoring to better manage a production system of this scale,” commented Farmex managing director Hugh Crabtree. Farmex has been trading in the United States for nearly 20 years and has invested in training, bringing stockmen and managers over the UK for ‘hands on’ high-tech experience at their Reading base.

In Hugh Crabtree’s opinion, this level of sophistication puts these herds in advance of any English herd and probably most of European ones, too.

“The fact that a world-class pig producer has elected to use our technologies to harvest information on this scale is very important to us. The market is now clearly investing in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) systems as a normal tool of production management,” he commented.