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Photo & video 9085 views last update:Sep 25, 2014

Photo report: VOF Rooijakkers - The Netherlands

Pig Progress went to visit the farm of Maarten Rooijakkers, in the south of the Netherlands, where he keeps his gestating sows in one large group.

 

To read more about Rooijakkers farm click here

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  • The farm of Maarten Rooijakkers and his brother John, near the town of Aarle-Rixtel in the Netherlands, has a special attraction to offer: a sow facility of 70 x 20 m, housing 550 gestating sows in one big space.

    The farm of Maarten Rooijakkers and his brother John, near the town of Aarle-Rixtel in the Netherlands, has a special attraction to offer: a sow facility of 70 x 20 m, housing 550 gestating sows in one big space.

  • The majority of non-agricultural visitors (who are actively welcomed) consider the breeding farm to be ecological, Rooijakkers explains. Most fail to see that keeping a vast amount of sows in one space requires a decent management system.

    The majority of non-agricultural visitors (who are actively welcomed) consider the breeding farm to be ecological, Rooijakkers explains. Most fail to see that keeping a vast amount of sows in one space requires a decent management system.

  • The breeding house, built in 1999, does not have slatted flooring. Manure is removed from the defecating aisle daily, by the use of a shovel. The group housing is required by UK retailer Tesco, to whom most of the pork is sold after slaughter.

    The breeding house, built in 1999, does not have slatted flooring. Manure is removed from the defecating aisle daily, by the use of a shovel. The group housing is required by UK retailer Tesco, to whom most of the pork is sold after slaughter.

  • The sows are housed on straw. Rooijakkers uses one heap of straw (330 kg) every day, equaling to €33.

    The sows are housed on straw. Rooijakkers uses one heap of straw (330 kg) every day, equaling to €33.

  • Drinking facilities for sows are available in the central zone of the sow house.

    Drinking facilities for sows are available in the central zone of the sow house.

  • Sows are fed daily rations through electronic sow feeding stations, using Nedap Velos technology for identification. A sensor detects a sow by a transponder in her ear and supplies the ration required, on the basis of her age and phase in gestation.

    Sows are fed daily rations through electronic sow feeding stations, using Nedap Velos technology for identification. A sensor detects a sow by a transponder in her ear and supplies the ration required, on the basis of her age and phase in gestation.

  • After having had a meal, every sow has to pass through a sorting sluice. Animals can be sorted for different reasons, e.g. farrowing, vaccinating or loss of transponder.

    After having had a meal, every sow has to pass through a sorting sluice. Animals can be sorted for different reasons, e.g. farrowing, vaccinating or loss of transponder.

  • Adjacent to the sow house is a farrowing facility for 210 sows. In 2008, Rooijakkers weaned 31.2 piglets/sow/year, and reached average growth figures of 310 g/day. Approximately 2-3 days after insemination, sows are moved back into group housing, which leads to good results.

    Adjacent to the sow house is a farrowing facility for 210 sows. In 2008, Rooijakkers weaned 31.2 piglets/sow/year, and reached average growth figures of 310 g/day. Approximately 2-3 days after insemination, sows are moved back into group housing, which leads to good results.

  • Group housed sows in heat will be detected by an automatic heat detector, placed next to two boar units.

    Group housed sows in heat will be detected by an automatic heat detector, placed next to two boar units.

  • After weaning, piglets are sent to the growing section. Last year, about 23,000 piglets went this way. After the growing phase they are sent to three different fattening facilities in the neighbourhood, of which Rooijakkers owns two.

    After weaning, piglets are sent to the growing section. Last year, about 23,000 piglets went this way. After the growing phase they are sent to three different fattening facilities in the neighbourhood, of which Rooijakkers owns two.

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