Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A New AI Saddle Option

With the AI Saddle, we’ve been living under the age-old advice of “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” And who can blame us? This artificial insemination tool has been a gold standard in the swine industry for almost 15 years with major improvements in 2006. Producing a top notch, dependable product has been our criterion and making any sort of change could upset the apple cart…. or so we thought.

Pork Producers love the AI Saddle because:

1) It speeds up breeding time. That’s the number one
reason we developed the AI Saddle as we noticed sows at the end of the breed row were not producing as well as the other sows. It turned out those sows were entering the refractory period before the breeding crew could get to them. An impossible task was asked of the employees; to be thorough, but also swift in order to successfully breed the entire row of sows in time. Now, breeding technicians can breed multiple sows at one time, all hands-free.

2) Its snug fit helps with stimulation and keeps the saddle in place along with the semen bag/bottle. Speaking of…

3) The heavy duty belt with Velcro secures both bags and bottles at an upright angle to ensure complete emptying.

4) The AI Saddle is extremely durable and long lasting. We continue to use many of the original 2006 injection molded plastic saddles at Klocke Farms. They still work like a charm!

However, we have been challenged with a few requests from customers that all led to another saddle option.  The requests were:

1)   “We want to be able to put on the saddle with one hand.”

Breeding technicians are multi-tasking throughout the task of breeding because everything needs to work like clockwork. Therefore, many breeding technicians would like to be able to place it on the sow with one hand while holding the AI supplies in the other.

2)  “We have older sows in the herd that are pretty large and worry about the saddle being too tight.”

As genetics, nutrition and feeding systems continue to improve, we have the ability to keep productive sows in the herd much longer, which also means that they can get substantially larger. Basically, there can be quite a range in weight and size between sows in the same herd.

So, we got to work.  We developed a new width with the same effective design to tackle these requests.  After testing it out in our breed barn (what we do with all our prototypes), we knew we had the answer; the Husky Saddle.

The Husky Saddle will feature gray colored plastic to differentiate from the
AI Saddle

The Husky Saddle has a wider opening that can be applied and removed with one hand. The wider opening also fits easier on larger sows, while continuing to be a snug fit that doesn’t fall off if the sow rubs up against the divider. It is made of the same plastic and same general design of the AI Saddle so we know it is just as effective and durable. It features the same heavy duty belt to hold up any type of semen apparatus. Basically, you will continue to have the reliability of the AI Saddle, yet built for the more mature gals.

For those of you who love the AI Saddle as is, not to worry! The regular AI Saddle will still be available in addition to the new Husky Saddle option.

Because there are sows of all ages on your farm, you may want both saddles available at breed time. OR maybe you will prefer one over the other, depending on your type of genetics and herd. Either way, you have two reliable options to best fit your AI needs.

AI Saddle (white)  vs  Husky Saddle (gray)

Call (888) 354-0112 or email info@pigeasy.com to find out how to order.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Conquering the Pain of a Production Migraine

I started getting migraines in middle school. 

I left most softball games with a bad migraine
from getting overheated.
Mine had typical triggers, but as a 12 year old I barely understood what migraines was and didn't understand why they were happening.  By the end of high school, I was getting 3-4 a week and only my mom was able to notice. I’d walk in the room, she’d look at me and say, “You have a migraine?”


I was so used to the throbbing pain and nausea that I could function like a normal human being and while people knew I suffered from migraines, no one realized the extent of it.

As I matured, I learned some of what set them off and tricks to lessen the blow, but they were still there.

This little guy was a blessing in more ways than one.
It wasn’t until I was in the second trimester of pregnancy with my son that it clicked one day; I hadn’t had a migraine in over a month. I haven’t gone that long since I was a little girl! Today, migraines have become few and far between in my world, which is a good thing, but it has also been eye-opening.

Now when I get a migraine, they are KILLER. I need a dark room, an ice pack, and some time to get over it. Is it that these migraines are worse than before? Has my pain tolerance gone down?  I don’t think so.

I believe I was so used to being in semi-constant pain that it was a continuous reality of mine and I just lived with it. Because what was the alternative?

How often do we have “migraines” in our lives that we just live with? They are constant, throbbing problems that bring huge hiccups to our business and its success, but 1) we can’t find the trigger, and 2) even if we found the trigger, a solution isn’t readily available.

Feeding sows was a migraine for my dad. We knew how important optimal feed intake was, but we couldn’t get it right. We set the boxes too high, there was too much feed waste; we set the boxes too low, production suffered.

We hear about it a lot with other producers. Everyone knows it’s a problem. Each farm does what it has to do to get feed into these animals, but at what cost? The cost might be pretty clear, as in excess feed waste. That is something you can clearly see and quantify. OR the cost might be considered gray area, where your crew is having to spend time hand feeding sows when they should really be focusing on XX and YY tasks. Quantifying those added costs can be difficult. But, you do what you have to do to get through it. What is the alternative?
MealMeter with pre-breed gilts

We’re passionate about feeding sows for a number of reasons, but I think the unbridled excitement comes from the sow production “migraine” we found a solution for without adding a bunch of management to the workforce and outlandish costs per crate.

The MealMeter feed dispenser became a huge game changer not just on our farm, but for customers.  We recently caught up with a customer who said, “How else could we get this intake in these sows?”

We know what it’s like to live with production migraines because our roots are in sow production, right along with you. There’s nothing more frustrating than a migraine where you know the trigger, but you can’t do anything about it.

With the MealMeter, you can do something. There is an alternative to living with this production migraine, and it’s PigEasy.

Until Next Time,