read about our visit to Braedstrup!
For the development of loose house farrowing systems, effective collaboration of parties is a must. That is why at the 3rd of April 2017 we travelled with a group of Dutch pig farmers from the network ‘Loose House Farrowing Sows’ and Wageningen Livestock Research to Braedstrup, Denmark to meet our Danish colleagues.
The past years, interest in loose house farrowing systems has been increasing worldwide. Many questions regarding these systems, however, are still unanswered. Once in Denmark, we have had a warm welcome. During the morning we have taken a closer look at various types of loose house systems at the showroom of SEGES Danish Pig Research Center. In the afternoon several Danish and Dutch specialists explained the latest insights and developments on market value, animal welfare and climate control.
Animal welfare and succesfactors
Danish Crown presented her 4 Wheel Drive-strategy and the brand new ‘higher animal welfare – shown with a label with 3 hearts'(1) concept. Both concepts work for a better marketvalue. Wageningen Livestock Research summarized the success factors of loose house farrowing, but also showed us that there are still many unused opportunities for improvement such as using the sow for teaching the piglets to eat core feed, lying behaviour of the sow and pen-floor application. After Wageningen Livestock Research, SEGES Danish Pig Research Center showed us the differences between pig breeding in Denmark and the Netherlands and how to cope with this to be successful. For example due to differences in genetics, the duration of parturition, birthweight and size of the litters are different and require special attention. Air-Support showed us that it is crucial for a stable climate all year round to focus on conditioning of the incoming air. For example with ground channel or ground tube ventilation.
At the end of the day, several pig farmers got the opportunity to present their strategy and vision. Subsequently, how to develop the sector further was discussed. The Dutch pig farmers concluded that there are many similarities between their issues and those of Danish pig farmers and that there is still no farrowing system for loose sows that satisfies all needs. They do think, however, that there have been and will come many useful improvements. The development of a separate macro and micro climate for sow and piglet, for example. Additionally they mentioned to be very enthusiastic about the ‘3 heart’ concept in order to improve the market value of piglets from loose housed sows.
Second gathering in NL
All together we have learned a lot from this special day. The use of loose house systems has various advantages, but both countries recognize there are still many hurdles to conquer. Because collaboration helps to reach results faster, Vereijken will organise a second international meeting after summer, this time in the Netherlands. On the agenda will be: better market value, long tails for piglets and the effects of different genetics.