Swine research site opens

LET THE RESEARCH BEGIN — Tracy Area High School graduate Jeff Knott (left) talks shop during the open house for his IDEAL Research pig finishing facility.

By Per Peterson

“It’s a barn, just like any other barn.”
Those were the most simplistic words Mike Boerboom could come up with when describing the new pig finishing facility northeast of Tracy.
Only this is not your grandfather’s barn. In fact, IDEAL Research, modeled under Jeff Knott’s business Ideal Animal Nutrition, is more of a research facility than just a home for pigs for four months.
“Pigs are going to be coming here at feeder pig weight, which is 40 to 60 pounds, and then they’ll be raised up to market (weight),” said Boerboom.
On the surface, it does sound as simple as Boerboom said. But dig a little deeper, and anyone can see this is no ordinary farm building. This one is powered by technology, and gives Boerboom, of Boerboom Farms of Marshall, and Knott the ability to do research while raising up to 1,200 pigs.
“If you look at a normal barn, you’d probably see two big feed tanks, here there’s eight and they’re a lot smaller,” said Boerboom.”
The reason for the number of feeders is that there can be four different trials going on; two feeds can be assigned to each of the feeder bins.
Boerboom and Knott started planning for the finishing facility in December 2017. The building — more than 10,000 square feet in size and built in about three months for roughly twice the cost of a normal finishing facility — is home to 1,200 pigs. Each of the 44 12-by-24 pens has its own feeders, which draw feed through tubes from what is known as the kitchen, which is located at the front of the facility in a room with a 14-foot high ceiling. The feeder in the kitchen is designed by German-based Big Dutchman, so all of the feed components had to be imported.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.