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FARM VISIT: Rassiche Farm, Cremona, Italy

The Italian Chiozzi brothers' farm near Cremona, is fully closed, has 240 sows and has a strong focus on biosecurity. The majority of pigs are slaughtered at 170 kg after which their legs are destined for Parma ham production. About 10% can live up to 220 kg.

A feature of this farm visit will appear in the print version of Pig Progress Volume 30, Issue 09.

Photo

  • Rassiche Farm is a heavy pig farm and small meat business, located near Cappella Cantone, north east of Cremona, in a well-known pig area of Italy. The farm consists of three buildings and was built new after Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) struck heavily on a previous site in 2000.

    Rassiche Farm is a heavy pig farm and small meat business, located near Cappella Cantone, north east of Cremona, in a well-known pig area of Italy. The farm consists of three buildings and was built new after Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) struck heavily on a previous site in 2000.

  • The farm’s full name is ‘Chiozzi Francesco, Danio ed Emanuele’ – named after the three Chiozzi brothers. Francesco (middle) is taking care of slaughter and sales of pork meat and products; Danio (right) is involved in the purchasing of feed raw materials and pig sales. He also supports Emanuele (left, 34 years) who is in charge of the pig production.

    The farm’s full name is ‘Chiozzi Francesco, Danio ed Emanuele’ – named after the three Chiozzi brothers. Francesco (middle) is taking care of slaughter and sales of pork meat and products; Danio (right) is involved in the purchasing of feed raw materials and pig sales. He also supports Emanuele (left, 34 years) who is in charge of the pig production.

  • Biosecurity is important on the Chiozzi farm, hence the fence all around the facility. Pigs that are picked up need to parade through this corridor on their way out to a truck waiting for their transport.

    Biosecurity is important on the Chiozzi farm, hence the fence all around the facility. Pigs that are picked up need to parade through this corridor on their way out to a truck waiting for their transport.

  • The first building consists of insemination rooms, farrowing rooms and the weaner section. In this laboratory, all kinds of routine checks are being performed.

    The first building consists of insemination rooms, farrowing rooms and the weaner section. In this laboratory, all kinds of routine checks are being performed.

  • In the insemination room, the sows (PIC C26 breed) stay until 28 days after insemination. The only element on the otherwise closed farm is semen for the GP sows, which is purchased from Germany. The breeding sows are inseminated by Duroc semen produced on-farm.

    In the insemination room, the sows (PIC C26 breed) stay until 28 days after insemination. The only element on the otherwise closed farm is semen for the GP sows, which is purchased from Germany. The breeding sows are inseminated by Duroc semen produced on-farm.

  • The sows in the insemination rooms are kept in facilities with natural ventilation.

    The sows in the insemination rooms are kept in facilities with natural ventilation.

  • Sows farrow 2.35 times per year. They are kept in two batches of 33 sows. Weaning occurs at 26-27 days; piglets weigh about 8.3 kg on average by then. Until two years ago, when PRRS returned to the farm, the farm had 13 piglets/ litter born alive, leading to 30.55 piglets born/sow/year. Now the average litter size just over 12 piglets/litter.

    Sows farrow 2.35 times per year. They are kept in two batches of 33 sows. Weaning occurs at 26-27 days; piglets weigh about 8.3 kg on average by then. Until two years ago, when PRRS returned to the farm, the farm had 13 piglets/ litter born alive, leading to 30.55 piglets born/sow/year. Now the average litter size just over 12 piglets/litter.

  • Typically, the Chiozzi farm uses shreds of paper inside the farrowing pens. For sows about to farrow, this is nice as they have some distraction in the hours leading up to farrowing. For the piglets, it serves its purpose for getting dry quicker after birth.

    Typically, the Chiozzi farm uses shreds of paper inside the farrowing pens. For sows about to farrow, this is nice as they have some distraction in the hours leading up to farrowing. For the piglets, it serves its purpose for getting dry quicker after birth.

  • Just like virtually all other pigs on-farm, the lactating sows are fed liquid feed, based on maize, barley, soy and wheat bran.

    Just like virtually all other pigs on-farm, the lactating sows are fed liquid feed, based on maize, barley, soy and wheat bran.

  • This pen is used as an overflow pen, to relieve sows that can’t handle the amount of their piglets. It’s not the weakest ones that are being taken out.

    This pen is used as an overflow pen, to relieve sows that can’t handle the amount of their piglets. It’s not the weakest ones that are being taken out.

  • In the weaner rooms, at the moment trials are being performed. Since PRRS has proved to be a recurring problem, the Chiozzi brothers are testing a ‘Stress Support Pack’, by Belgian company Bivit. This animal nutrition has been especially designed to boost a pig’s immunity after weaning. First results look positive.

    In the weaner rooms, at the moment trials are being performed. Since PRRS has proved to be a recurring problem, the Chiozzi brothers are testing a ‘Stress Support Pack’, by Belgian company Bivit. This animal nutrition has been especially designed to boost a pig’s immunity after weaning. First results look positive.

  • There are three batches of weaners in different age groups, each consisting of about 350 pigs. Other pathogens observed on the farm are P. multocida, H. parasuis and E. coli. Again – until two years ago, the total loss from weaning to slaughter was just under 4%.

    There are three batches of weaners in different age groups, each consisting of about 350 pigs. Other pathogens observed on the farm are P. multocida, H. parasuis and E. coli. Again – until two years ago, the total loss from weaning to slaughter was just under 4%.

  • Another corridor – this one leads gestating sows from the insemination rooms to the group housing facilities.

    Another corridor – this one leads gestating sows from the insemination rooms to the group housing facilities.

  • The sows are kept in groups of six or seven; also here liquid feed is provided.

    The sows are kept in groups of six or seven; also here liquid feed is provided.

  • The sows are being provided with empty jerry cans as distraction material, as prescribed by European Union directives.

    The sows are being provided with empty jerry cans as distraction material, as prescribed by European Union directives.

  • The sows stay here until approximately one week before farrowing, then they are transferred to the farrowing facilities.

    The sows stay here until approximately one week before farrowing, then they are transferred to the farrowing facilities.

  • Next stop is the finishing facilities. To avoid cross-contamination, the visitors are required to wear various layers of protective clothing upon entrance.

    Next stop is the finishing facilities. To avoid cross-contamination, the visitors are required to wear various layers of protective clothing upon entrance.

  • Besides seven groups of finishers (70 to 170 kg) and three groups of weaners (8 to 25 kg) there are four groups of smaller pigs (25 to 70 kg). All of the batches consist of about 350 pigs. This picture shows finishers in the heavier stage.

    Besides seven groups of finishers (70 to 170 kg) and three groups of weaners (8 to 25 kg) there are four groups of smaller pigs (25 to 70 kg). All of the batches consist of about 350 pigs. This picture shows finishers in the heavier stage.

  • The finishers are kept in seven groups of each about 350 pigs. They are all fed on liquid feed. About 90% stay here until they weigh about 160-170 kg, a good average for Parma ham production.

    The finishers are kept in seven groups of each about 350 pigs. They are all fed on liquid feed. About 90% stay here until they weigh about 160-170 kg, a good average for Parma ham production.

  • Spectacular is the presence of several pigs of well over 200 kg, who are being selected to live up to 12 months, after which they are being slaughtered in the own nearby Chiozzi slaughterhouse and shop.

    Spectacular is the presence of several pigs of well over 200 kg, who are being selected to live up to 12 months, after which they are being slaughtered in the own nearby Chiozzi slaughterhouse and shop.

  • The Chiozzi facility next door comprises of several silos, reconstructed into office buildings.

    The Chiozzi facility next door comprises of several silos, reconstructed into office buildings.

  • On-site is also the slaughterhouse, where about seven pigs per week are slaughtered manually – with a ‘spaccio’ (shop) next door…

    On-site is also the slaughterhouse, where about seven pigs per week are slaughtered manually – with a ‘spaccio’ (shop) next door…

  • …where the local pigmeat specialties are being sold.

    …where the local pigmeat specialties are being sold.

  • Typical for the area are salame cremonese (see next picture) and culatello – the finest and most expensive part of prosciutto, Italian for ham.

    Typical for the area are salame cremonese (see next picture) and culatello – the finest and most expensive part of prosciutto, Italian for ham.

  • The famous salame cremonese. The product contains lean and fat parts in the minced meat to which salt, spices and pepper are added, after which it is left to mature, absorbing all the flavours.

    The famous salame cremonese. The product contains lean and fat parts in the minced meat to which salt, spices and pepper are added, after which it is left to mature, absorbing all the flavours.

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