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2012 World Pork Expo…260 lb. burgers, $2,000 bin whackers and ESF.

The 2012 Pork Expo is in the books.  Great weather this year and great food.  Especially the 260 lb pork burger Vinny and crew from Hog Slat cooked up.  This wasn’t just an inedible gimmick either…..the slice I had was very good.

Walking around the trade show, I noticed there were a few companies with products to address the bin bridging and feed outage problems caused by using DDGS and other alternative feed ingredients……mechanical bin whackers in other words. One rep explained that his product was a much better choice than his competitor’s model and “ours is only about $1200 compared to theirs at $2000.” Wow. The price of the anti-bridging device is almost as much as the bin.

Quite a few companies displayed their version of Electronic Sow Feeding (ESF).   One says each feeding station will handle 60-65 sows, the next guy’s will handle 300.   All the computerized systems are easy to use; intuitive I believe was the term they used.  Everybody had a “system expert” who probably lives several states away from your farm.

Remember when everyone had to hook up their ventilation controls up to a computer in their office? Going to run the barn from the house was the idea. Most ended up with the plastic cover left on after a month or two. A couple of years ago, sorting scales were going to change the way finishing pigs were raised. Most of those are sitting outside rusting away now.

No doubt some producers will successfully adopt ESF technology. One thing is guaranteed, not all the companies offering ESF will be at this show five years from now. Choose carefully.

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