Performance Data Drives Improvement

Newletter No. 78 - Item 2

The following is the opening statement of an article on The PigSite:

A willingness to try new techniques is integral to Kevin Gilbert’s approach to improving pig production at Womblehill, Aberdeenshire. A recent visit to the unit demonstrated Kevin’s willingness to trial new tools, evaluate performance and then either adopt or discard them based on careful measurement of results. This approach can be seen from the farrowing house to the fattening and finishing barns.

The approach discussed in this article is not new to top managers in commercial livestock production. Following this approach over many decades has enabled their industries to become increasingly efficient.  However these efficiencies have been driven by increasing volume production to provide a strong data base essential to providing meaningful evaluation of the results.

The article concludes:

Mr Gilbert admits that sometimes the changes he makes are not always right, so he’ll try something different until it is right. Ultimately, collecting data on performance helps him make the right decisions on the type and quantity of feed, the right vaccines to use and gives him an accurate picture of the return on his investment.

When developing such a data base to form meaningful judgements, it is essential to eliminate all variables that can influence results.  Pig and poultry producers are able to do this, working with genetic material in their batches with only one “variable” changed at a time to enable them to record the variance and build their data base.   This is more difficult for ostrich producers at this time as we still require large scale production, consistent supply to markets and total cooperation at all stages of production.

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