This week I spent a full day visiting the Dutch national livestock & poultry show (LIV), which is held in Venray, right in the middle of the country’s main pig zone.
My aim of going there was mainly for contact maintenance. I’ve been there a couple of times before and one of the things I really like is the fact that the show is being held from 1 to 10 pm. Partly, this is a gesture towards producers who’d like to work on-farm during the day time. Being a night owl myself, I always struggle with shows starting at 8 am, so I wouldn’t mind if every show around the world started in the afternoon and lasted until late at night.
Anyway – what I saw surprised me in a way, as I saw my theory of the ‘the Fourth P’ confirmed in my talks and also in the innovations which were presented. ‘The Fourth P’, as I explained in Atlanta in January, refers to a development that apart from People, Profit and Planet, the Pig’s perspective is also increasingly taken into account during pig production. And that it does not necessarily mean that it will go at the expense of profitability – on the contrary, the tendency can be found throughout major stakeholders in the Western European pig industry.
One recent innovation I never included in the presentation is the development of the so-called ‘Pro Dromi’ concept, a farrowing pen developed by a consortium which includes the companies Vereijken-Hooijer, Verbakel and Leenders, and coordinated by Wageningen University. Again, the major thought is how to develop a breeding pen which answers more to a sow’s and piglets’ needs but also meets demands of pork producers and could also be realised within a relatively short term. The pen has been developed by 16 sow breeders.
On the whole, remarkably often, I have heard representatives say, “We need to think about what is important for the pig”. Not only in innovations, but also in private discussions and in what direction companies would like to develop their product portfolio.
This could be when increasing claw comfort for pigs – one of the main reasons for developing slatted floors from composite materials, a novelty introduced by Dutch company Jovas. But I’ve also heard the pig perspective being mentioned when several animal nutrition companies explained their strategy with regard to their pig portfolio.
The pig perspective definitely appears to take a more important place in the mind of the Dutch pig producers. Can’t wait until VIV Europe and EuroTier to see how this will affect production on an international level.