Tuesday, July 28, 2009

007 Swiftlet Farmers

Another article from Mr F about how technology can help to improve your BH.

CIA is one of the best known intelligence network in the world but actually, the NSA (National Security Agency) is the more extensive, secretive and critical intelligence organization in the USA. The popular idea of a secret agent is like the fictional James Bond. Espionage is a critical component of many countries in their quest to gather useful information and also to carry out covert actions for national security purposes. Likewise, in the technical field of swiftlet farming; entrepreneurs should apply some of the spy trade techniques in the running of a farm so that one might follow Sun Tzu’s dictum: “Know yourself and your enemy, and you will win all battles.” Entrepreneurs in swiftlet farming often try to understand their farms so that problems can be iron out as quickly as possible in order that the farm can become successful as soon as possible. A simple way is to stake out the farm especially during the late afternoon and early evening to see the numbers of birds flying to the farm. They would also go in to inspect their farms from time to time during the afternoon to check out whether the birds find it easy to navigate into all areas of the farm and to see if the birds are staying inside the farm overnight; clues can be discern from the guano left behind by the birds. Some enterprising farmers even hide inside their farms to observe and listen to the birds and to learn of their behaviors. However, many more would install CCTV system, often equipped with digital video recorders to record the situation of a farm over a period for later analysis. All these are equivalent to what is known as field study; just like a spy sent into an enemy country to survey the strengths and weaknesses of an enemy state.

A crucial function of a spy is to collect valuable information. And as even beginners know, for the swiftlet farmers; the all important data for them are the critical metrics of temperature, humidity and darkness. The optimum readings in these three variables are: 28-30 Celsius, 85-90 for humidity and 1 to 2 lux for dimness. The sizes of the various inner and outer entrances (which varies due to open roof or dog kennel designs) also affects all three of the variables in allowing fresh air to go in and out of the farm. For the espionage trade, spies are often equipped with the latest gizmos such as equipments for maintaining communications and for recording sensitive information. For the swiftlet business, many farmers simply keep temperature and humidity meters inside their farms to keep track of the conditions inside their farms; one should remember to hang the meter in the middle of the nesting room at the plank area so as to get a more accurate reading. However, many people had since realized that normal meters often give inaccurate readings, this also apply to the meters of normal hygrostats. So one can only get a rough guide to the conditions inside a particular farm. More advanced farmer might obtain a hand held meter reader which use laser to pinpoint the condition in a specific area so as to get a better idea of the specific conditions inside a farm but such readings are only for that particular time of day only. Many technically advanced farmers also installed an equipment known as a data-logger which they placed inside a farm to collect the constantly changing data in terms of temperature and humidity. After a period of time, the data logger would be taken away to be plug into a computer which will then display the range of temperature and humidity over the course of a period inside a farm. In such way, one can keep track of the conditions of a farm and can then modify the conditions if the situation is not ideal. In the end, maintaining an ideal environment will make swiftlets feel welcome to stay; and hopefully to make their nests. Mission accomplished!

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