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Photo & video 1441 views last update:May 28, 2014

Photo Report: Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

May 19, 2014 – for the first time Pig Progress organised a Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence, showing some of the finest places the Netherlands has to offer.

Photo

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    Arguably the most important player of the today – the bus – taking the visitors interested in the pig industry on a trip of 290 km through the Netherlands.

  • Gathering point is the showgrounds of VIV Europe in Utrecht – to be starting on May 20. Suzanne van Tilburg, Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs, introduces the importance of the Dutch Top Sector Agri&Food.

    Gathering point is the showgrounds of VIV Europe in Utrecht – to be starting on May 20. Suzanne van Tilburg, Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs, introduces the importance of the Dutch Top Sector Agri&Food.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    Here we are at the first address – it is a small group, but in narrow pig farm aisles, with loud pigs around us, the smaller the groups, the more you pick up. So it happens at the Druijff pig breeding facility in Voorthuizen.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    The farm built this entirely new sow house in 2011 – can accommodate 500 sows.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    The pig farm welcomes visitors and has a large purpose-built room for interested groups. A short introduction was given before all went into farm clothes.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    Some last instructions and explanations about the buildings…

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    …and a little chat on the pig house map…

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    …and here we are in the pig house. This visit was made possible by Dutch livestock equipment producer Vereijken Hooijer, which has two recent innovations to show at this site: the VariPlus, a farrowing pen floor that can rise as soon as a sow intends to stand up. This way piglets are protected from crushing.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    Another novelty in this farm is the DateGate, an automatic system which allows boars to make their round through the insemination room on their own without help of any farm staff.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    Two boars follow each other on their round, the first getting the sows in heat, the second helping the pork producer with the insemination. And for the boars, a snack is waiting upon return.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    For those brave tour participants there is a moment of eye-to-eye contact with sows.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    The large gestation area provided space to 350 sows – three Electronic Sow Feeding stations for the first and second parity sows; four for older-parity sows.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    On the bus again – next stop is the Swine Innovation Centre at Sterksel, in the deep south of the Netherlands. This research facility, part of Wageningen University, is supported by a wide range of sponsors, from the authorities to private companies as well as farmers.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    For strict biosecurity reasons, taking a shower is mandatory at the farm and all animals can only be viewed from behind glass windows – like these group-housed gestating sows kept in an experimental system on floor feeding.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    One remarkable research being conducted – not shown in this image – applies to the conditioning of piglets to get hungry when hearing the sound of a horn.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    Recent research on feeding extra large creep feeding pellets received a lot of attention during the visit to the Swine Innovation Centre.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    And what about the idea of weaning piglets bit by bit – by allowing sows to come back after some while – and even start a new round of gestation?

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    This sow certainly must think it is time for weaning as her offspring kept biting her ear.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    One of the key features at the moment in Sterksel is the set-up of the Pro Dromi system, an approach to create specific welfare zones in a farrowing room for both sows and piglets. It consists e.g. of an own climate atmosphere, but also includes elements like jute bags so sows have something to play with in her last moments before farrowing.

  • Dutch Pig Tour of Excellence

    It was a full day, with interesting visits at various places. We pigged it together!

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