A new tray drinking system, which can improve pork yield by 1.0 to 1.2 pounds per carcass, has been developed by an American pork producer. Designed by Brad Knipplemeir, the WeighBetter Watering System can help pigs increase water consumption by 25 percent.
Knipplemeir found that on his 14,500-head finishing unit in Nebraska the pigs did not eat or drink during the night, but concentrated these activities at particular periods during the day. This behavior could lead to high levels of competition around the drinking trough. "Historically the drinking process was a two-step process, with the pig having to bite or push a dispensing device before drinking," said Knipplemeir. So he went back to basics and designed a water tray rather than a bowl or drinker - producing a water trough with a new twist.
With dimensions 18 inches long, 12 inches wide and 3 inches high, it holds between one and two gallons of water. A valve controls the water level and there are two baffles with openings in the bottom to control waste. The tray is set within the pen division, also helping to reduce waste.
The benefits result from easier drinking for the pig, while allowing better access and escape from the trough. The increased access to water promotes higher feed consumption which is reflected in increased carcass yield.