High-rise piggeries at Alltech ONE

As pork production around the world ramps up to cater for increased demand, pig housing and technology are also being developed at a fast pace. Two speakers at the recent Alltech ONE Ideas Conference focused on their work in these specialist areas. In addition, keynote speakers zoomed in on more general themes.


Yu Ping, founder of Yu’s Design which designs pig farms, discussed China and its growing demand for high-rise piggeries. Pork meat is a fa- voured protein among China’s 1.4 billion people, and the country is home to 400 million pigs. Yu said, “My business designs high-rise pig farms, which includes the pig farm layout, pig house structures, ventilation models plus environ- ment controls. This design is suitable for all geographic locations and climatic conditions and is now on version 5. “We have around 62 buildings in production and under construction right now. There are two models, one of which is a steel structure. When the steel price is low we use steel structures, and when the price of steel is high we use a concrete model. To feed the animals we place a silo outside the biosecurity wall. We’ve got the bucket elevator inside

the building as well as an internal feed system.” He said, “The ventila- tion system is mechanically con- trolled plus natural. It’s switched automatically depending on the temperature inside and outside.” The smell generated from pig farms al- ways causes controversy, and Yu gave an outline of the odour treatment facility in his design: “We use water and acid to treat the odours. In the multistorey buildings it’s easy to separate the solid and the liquid with the right equipment. The solids are easy to treat to become organic fertiliser, but the liquid is a headache for the whole industry.”

Smart technology in swine farms

Jon Hoek, president of Summit Smart Farms, USA, delved into the big wide world of farm technology, looking at what the future holds. He said: “We have tremendous tech- nology and controllers; we have more data coming in than we know what to do with. When I talk to producers they say, ‘I just love my controller, but it just

locks me up. I don’t know what to do with it.’ So it creates a poverty of attention, and attention equals margin.” Hoek added: “What we’re really talking about today in digital transfor- mation is kind of reinventing how we raise pigs.”

18 ▶ PIG PROGRESS | Volume 37, No. 7, 2021

Hoek said that in 2020 during Covid-19, Flexware and Summit came to- gether to bring digital transformation to protein production. In 2021 Acumence SM was born and soft-launched in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. Hoek said, “Our purpose was really to demonstrate something that is in the field today. We have real-time mortality reporting. We’ve narrowed the gap from 7–10 days down to real time. Barn visibility creates the visibility to the barn, creates the environmental visibility. But it doesn’t necessarily give you actionable items.” “Today we see a lot of sensor companies being born. We see a lot of barn visibility companies being born. And the race to analytics is really where everybody’s headed. And taking that data from the inside of barns and converting it into contextualised data will be the important thing for adoption of some of the smart technology for big production.”

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