Des Moines, Iowa (NAPSI) - When meat is on the menu, there’s a good chance it’s pork. Whether it’s bacon, ham or other favorites, pork accounts for about 40 percent of all global meat consumption.

Fortunately, technology advances help U.S. producers keep pace with the demand for high-quality, nutritious pork. One system playing an increasingly important role is Electronic Sow Feeding, or ESF.

“Electronic sow feeding is the only method that provides true individual animal nutrition to maximize performance and sow comfort in a group housing setting,” says Jeff Schoening, technical sales manager for Automated Production Systems (AP), a leading global manufacturer of swine production equipment.

Proper nutrition is essential to the health of gestating sows and the development of baby pigs. With ESF, sows are identified by an RFID (radio frequency identification) tag, similar to the bar code on consumer products. When the animal enters the computerized feeding station, the system recognizes the tag and automatically dispenses the feed ration and nutritional supplements specific to her needs. In other forms of group housing, sows are fed as a group, which does not ensure that all animals actually eat the right amount necessary for optimal health.

Schoening notes that ESF can do much more. “Electronic identification with RFID tags supports a host of other computer-controlled solutions,” he explains. Management options include monitoring the correct timing for vaccinations and ultrasonic pregnancy exams, as well as heat detection. Animal movement within the barn can also be tracked.

In addition to ESF, AP also provides an array of other technologies. These include Bio-Dri, a system for heating and drying trailers following wash-down to protect animal health during transport, and advanced filtration systems to ensure a safe environment in swine barns.

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