Reducing production costs in farming.

“We chose to purchase GenStat as opposed to other packages after careful consideration. Following a trial run we were impressed by how easy to handle the package was. The programme is simply set out and allows users of all levels to easily navigate it”.

Helen Whitney is Technical Co-ordinator at Dalehead Foods. Established in 1969 it is now one of the leading suppliers of pig products to UK supermarkets. The company boasts a highly experienced research and development staff and operates over 250 farms, mainly in East Anglia. Animal welfare is important to the company and all Dalehead’s livestock are housed on free draining land with plenty of straw for bedding.

The Problem

Dalehead carry out work on their purpose built trial unit, with the aim of reducing the overall cost of production for their farmers. To do this they investigate how possible changes to the feeding programmes used, or the genetic lines of pigs they select from, influence the overall cost of production and quality of meat produced. They do this using designed experiments. The performance indicators growth, feed intake and Feed Conversion Ratio, as well as health of the pigs are monitored throughout the trials. Certain post slaughter measurements are also recorded.

The Solution

GenStat’s extensive Analysis of Variance makes easy work of the range of designs used by the Dalehead scientists. Factorial designs are regularly used and the ability to handle covariance in designs is imperative. GenStat’s extensive regression facilities are also regarded as essential tools for Dalehead researchers.

“The set up of the output is clear and concise, and any anomalous results are clearly identified.”

Helen states that “after consideration of the results generated by GenStat from one particular trial which showed significant differences in performance of pigs on different dietary treatments, we have made changes to our current feeding programme which should in turn result in cost benefits to our farmers.”

GenStat’s interactive graphics capabilities were incorporated into reports to “clearly and concisely” demonstrate the findings of analyses.

Technical Support and Training

As GenStat plays an integral role to research at Dalehead, the company subscribe to the annual technical support and upgrade policy. This ensures that researchers always have the latest developments and statistical advances in GenStat at their fingertips. The support policy also gives the company the flexibility to install GenStat on home and laptop PC’s; a handy benefit when researchers have to work remotely.

As supported users, Dalehead researchers have the security of knowing that should they need advice, the developers of the software are easily accessible and ready to help.

Dalehead also chose to take advantage of the in-house training opportunities available to GenStat users. VSN’s CIPD qualified training staff ensure that Dalehead researchers were given a learner-centred, positive experience of GenStat training that resulted in improved performance in the work place.

Whitney concludes, “…we are particularly impressed by the ease of use of our GenStat programme. It provides a useable, clear as well as respected output. The input boxes are easy to use, and help should you need it is readily available.”


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