Foxholes Farm

“Paul is passionate about delivering exceptional performance. draperVENT have done it, seen it, and improved it. We have come to trust their judgement”

The challenge

Foxholes Farm Bespoke Integration Delivered Ultimate Control The sheds at Foxholes Farm in Shropshire, utilised 3 Fancom designed tunnel/sidewall ventilated houses with F38 controllers. The challenge was to integrate draperMINVENT HW system for early ventilation and heating. Guy Davis knew how well chicks start with this system, hence wanted to preheat incoming air in the ceiling and circulate it throughout the whole house, using the roof mounted air handling units. In addition, as the farm expanded, expertise in retro fitting and integration with existing systems was vital.

The solution

Optimum Airflow Once the draperMINVENT HW system was fitted, draper integrated their controls into Fancom’s computer, fully re-programming the F38 allowing operation as the first stage of ventilation. This meant that the roof fans and inlets did not need to be used until the birds were 2 weeks old, yet good air movement in the house was achieved from the AHU fans. The cool, damp fresh air was warmed and dried as it mixed with the house air in the ceiling space before it reached the birds. As a result chick spread was homogenous and the ventilation could be used, without chilling the birds. As Guy noted, “With guidance from Paul and Justin, we soon got to grips with what the system could do and have achieved excellent results. ”

Expansion In 2015, three more houses were built together with the originally planned Anaerobic Digester plant, giving a total bird capacity of 336k. “We knew without question that we would be fitting the draperMINVENT HW system due to the performance they delivered, and in order to optimise heat use out of the AD plant.” All 6 houses had to be similar, so whilst the Draper team believed the tunnel systems to be less appropriate for the UK climate, they prepared a tunnel design which included much more sidewall inlet area than the original houses to ensure the tunnel inlets would not be needed except in hot weather with a mature flock. “A common problem with the traditional tunnel system is that it is often activated when the outside temperature is not really hot or when the birds aren’t well enough feathered. This can make the birds feel too cold; they sit down and lose weight. So for us the new draper design looked a great improvement.”

Intuitive Control In a Class Of Its Own The Fortica touchscreen controller is way ahead of anything else on the market, and we were assured that the Fortica would really improve the way the draperMINVENT HW worked over the original option by blending in roof fans and inlets with much more flexibility. “ The farm now has six Fortica-controlled houses (335,000 birds), and the AD plant which is running well.


The new houses feel a little warmer and litter condition has been much better than expected for a green floor in winter. “We have found the Fortica very easy to learn and use, it does blend the draperMINVENT units and roof fans without noticing and our new manager Neil has found it very user friendly. The Home screen is particularly useful with its practical display of the key house parameters. The Fortica is an all in one controller with no extra boxes for weighing and blending which also makes sense.” Even with the challenge of a new site and controllers, their last crop achieved a 401 EPEF on standards (308s), with an FCR of 1.57 and 2.5kg at 38 days – at the top of the league table. “We do have future plans and will certainly be considering the draperVENT option with their strong customer support service. We may well abandon the tunnel system in favour of the draper recommended ridge fan-side inlet system that includes gable end fans just for the essential but infrequently used hot weather mode.” Note from draperVENT: The Fortica broiler management computer supplied to Guy Davies is our version of the FORTICA PB manufactured by Hotraco Agri but adapted to our specification suited to the cool, damp climate that predominates for much of the year in the United Kingdom. Not only does it offer smooth equipment transitions and a very user friendly interface but also continuously stores data of shed parameters and equipment status. This builds an excellent reference for the analysis of performance and points the way to managing future crops. Online accessibility enables remote monitoring for the grower and allows us to offer a higher level of support and mentoring during the learning phase. Regular software upgrades from Hotraco deliver constant enhancement.

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