Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tuesday’s Trick of the Trade: Ear Tagging

KFI began a new program some time ago that required all pigs to be tagged on both ears Day 1-2. We quickly got set up to tag hundreds of pigs a day; everything seemed straightforward and efficient. That was until we observed the toll it took on our staff. Our KFI crew was burning out rapidly and who could blame them? They were squeezing the tagger on both ears of hundreds of wiggling pigs while hunched over holding them in place. Whew! That’s a lot to ask someone to do day in and day out.

Dave knew he had to figure out a solution when his employees began to dread the task at hand. He had to #1: eliminate the repetitive squeezing, #2: somehow find a way to more efficiently organize all the tags before they are applied to the pigs, and #3: speed up the process. 

With collaboration, the PigEasy ID Cart was developed. It wasn’t surprising the benefits of using the ID Cart blossomed after using the first prototype. Because maybe you’re like me and prefer to read fast, I compiled a list of the Top Benefits of the PigEasy ID Cart:

1) Saves your Hands and Back

To tag pigs with the PigEasy ID Cart, the operator standing upright, simply holds the pig in one hand, positions the ear with the other and steps on the pedal that applies the tagger. That’s it. This means no more squeezing and no more crouching to tag pigs. Not only do you save your hands and back from the complications of the repetitive, strenuous task, but you also get rid of the typical fatigue that shows up quickly into this daily chore.

What this means for you if you’re a

Sow Farm Employee:  You save your body from the arduous job of tagging and are able to be more effective in this task and throughout your shift each day.

Sow Farm Manager/Owner:  You increase efficiency, employee morale and retention while lowering risk of workmen’s comp issues in the future. (3 Words: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) 

2) Speeds Up the Process

The PigEasy ID Cart is set up as a two person job, so someone is always loading the taggers and the other is holding the pig and operating the foot pedals. With everything set up, in place and in close proximity, you can quickly tag a lot of pigs.

Tags are set up on the sheets prior to heading out to the farrowing barn so organizing is done before the task begins. This makes for a quick turnaround.

With everything operating smoothly and efficiently without fatigue, the KFI crew can tag a litter in about 2 minutes. (This is from the time they arrive to load the pigs in the cart, to finishing up the paperwork after all the pigs are tagged!)

3) More Uniform Application

Now, I understand that “fast” isn’t always better. But because the PigEasy ID Cart is operated by two foot pedals, the person tagging can use both hands to hold the pig and ear in place. It’s a lot easier to get the placement of the tag right when you’re not handling the tagger and the pig at the same time.

This leads to an increase in tag retention later in the wean to finish stage.

4) Increased Organization and Efficiency

One of the first prototypes on the farm

By having all the tags ready on the tagging sheet before you head out to the barns, you’ll have the tags already organized before things get hectic in the room. The tagging sheet is also designed so the tags won’t fall out if you were to drop it.

Speaking of the tagging sheet, there are trays underneath the hopper for 3 additional trays so you do not have to head back to the office when you empty one. If you tag by color, you can organize each tray to a different color and have it close by for simple switching.

Its holding hopper specifically designed for the cart is large enough for a full litter and deep enough so they can’t jump out.

The PigEasy ID Cart tags pigs quickly, accurately, and with a lot less effort compared to manual tagging. Take a look at this video to watch the KFI crew tagging in action:

If you have similar problems with tattooing, no problem! We can easily convert the ID Cart to accommodate tattooing.

Call (888) 354-0112 for pricing and details.

Until next time,


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pork Producer Intuition turns Innovation

World Pork Expo, Des Moines, IA

The 2017 World Pork Expo is around the corner and we’re putting the finishing touches on PigEasy products that will be featured in our expanding booth (#V729). Even as we focus on promoting our tried and true product line, Dave never stops developing new innovations.

The tough decision every May is “What do we put in our booth this year?”

1. MealMeter feed dispenser -

Stainless Steel MealMeter

No question about it, we’ll have the MealMeter set up in a g-stall display. The MealMeter is what launched PigEasy and we are proud of how it boosts feed intake while preventing waste with incoming gilts, weaned sows and under conditioned sows.

PigEasy Sow Feeder

2. PigEasy Sow Feeder - 

The MealMeter will also be installed in the PigEasy Sow Feeder. The sow feeder’s one-of-a-kind design eliminates feed waste. (Yes, it really does!) By removing the corners, making this her only water source and using the MealMeter as the ad lib feed dispenser, you will get rid of the tedious task of cleaning out feeders.

PigEasy Farrowing Crate

3. PigEasy Farrowing Crate - 

The PigEasy Sow Feeder will be displayed with the PigEasy Farrowing Crate. Simple design with exclusive features, the PigEasy Farrowing Crate is built with durability, ease of use, and sow comfort in mind. (Remember the Flip Over feature?) Stop by our booth (#V729) to check out the one crate that makes sow care a whole lot easier.

We’re launching a number of new products this year. Some continue to focus on feeding because we know ourselves how feed is one of the biggest expenses on the farm and is always an area of improvement at every stage.

4. Breeder Bowl -

PigEasy Breeder Bowl

Speaking of PigEasy Sow Feeder, we’ve also wanted to allocate the success of the PigEasy Sow Feeder over to the breed row. To have the same feeding system in the breed row that’s also in farrowing makes the transition seamless and avoids any reproductive hiccups in the future.  To mirror the inner workings of the Sow Feeder, we’ve developed the PigEasy Breeder Bowl. The Breeder Bowl benefits from the same bottom design as the Sow Feeder without interfering with her access to boar exposure during breeding. Like the Sow Feeder, the Breeder Bowl serves as both her feed and water source, which regulates over-dispensing and over-watering and is self-cleaning. If you’re wanting to take feed intake to the next level pre-breed, you need to check out the MealMeter with the Breeder Bowl set up.

5. PigEasy I.D. Cart

PigEasy ID Cart

Finally, we’ve branched out from feeders and tackled another major migraine on a sow farm; pig tagging.  Certain programs require ear tagging all pigs farrowed on a sow farm and it becomes a time-consuming, fatigue-inducing chore. Ear tagging hundreds of pigs a day takes a huge toll on staff and can add stress to your hands and back.  Klocke Farms employees were wearing down after starting a new program that required ear tagging, so Dave got to work. With help, he invented the PigEasy ID Cart. The PigEasy ID Cart is a foot operated double tagger that also serves as a holding cart for the litter. The PigEasy ID Cart also comes with a tagging sheet to organize your tags.  I can’t even come close to being able to describe how cool this cart is.  Check out this video to watch how quickly the team can tag pigs accurately and with much less effort.  We’ll have one of these at the show as well, so you can test it out for yourself at the PigEasy Booth (#V729).

We’re looking forward to another wonderful year at the World Pork Expo June 7-9 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds!

See you then!