How can you get started with the new technologies shaping pig production?
In late 2018, Aidan Connelly was asked to predict the technologies that would shape agriculture as a whole and how these would relate to pig production. The nine technologies are still relevant, - more so than ever after the outbreak of COVID-19 - and not just within pig production, but across entire value chains.
This also means that if you thought you could "sit this one out" then you are probably overly optimistic. The future will not only be about what you need, but also about what those in your ecosystem need. Not all technologies are going to be equally important to everyone all of the time e.g. the use of drones will probably have little effect on the majority of pig producers, but AI can benefit everyone.
So what can you do to get going?
Obviously, signing up with IQinAbox is a great move...but apart from that, there are an increasing number of resources being made available online.
One example is Kansas State University's KSUSwine.org, which includes tools and calculators that allow you to do calculations manually. They also host a (video) podcast series where they go in-depth into some of the research they have been doing, e.g. “Effects of timing and amount of feed prior to farrowing on sow and litter performance under commercial condition”.
This is all a bit backward-looking, but it gives you an idea of what kind of data will be available real-time in the future (and already on IQinAbox's platform). Are you feeding the pigs at the right time? Are you about to run out of feed? Is it the right mix? The opportunities are endless.
There are also more traditional resources such as industry magazines including The Pig Site, and national agriculture guidelines (e.g. this simple pig space calculator from New Zealand), which you should definitely use where relevant, but these are very simplistic and typically serve a single purpose.
A final recommendation is at the more informal end of the spectrum: Farming Simulator 20, which is an increasingly popular game available on almost all platforms. The latest version has already sold more than 2,000,000 units - equivalent to the entire population of Slovenia! It has been going since 2008 and has continuously improved in realism and depth.
OK, maybe it won't solve your immediate problems, but at least you can experiment on a large (virtual) scale without it actually costing anything other than time...and $25 ;-)