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, and after the outbreak of COVID-19 even more so than ever, and not just within pig production, but across the 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 what does those in your ecosystem need and require. Not all technologies are going to be equally important to everyone all of the time - e.g. the use of drones in pig production probably has little effect for the majority of producers, but on the other hand AI will benefit everyone.
So what do you do to get going?
Obviously, signing up with IQinAbox is a great move...but apart from that there is an increasing amount of resources being made available online.
An example of this is Kansas State University's KSUSwine.org that e.g. contains 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”.
All of this is backward looking, but it will give 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 the industry magazines, such as The Pig Site, and national departments of agriculture's guidelines (e.g. this simple piga space calculator from New Zealand), and you should obviously make use of those where relevant, however, they are very simplistic and typically serve a single purpose.
A final recommendation is right at the casual end of the spectrum, Farming Simulator 20, which is an increasingly popular game on available on almost all platforms. The latest version has already sold more than 2.000.000 units - equivalent the entire population of Slovenia! It has been going since 2008 and has continuously increased in realism and depth.
OK, maybe it won't solve your immediate needs, but at least you can experiment on a large (virtual) scale without it actually costing anything else than time...and $25 ;-)