A group of 10 European swine experts have spent a week sharing insights with their US counterparts in an exchange aimed at fostering best practice on the differing production systems.
Veterinarians, nutritionists, producers, and feed experts from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal spent a week visiting US farms, feedmills and research facilities in October to learn more about improving production performance.
Supported by Novus International, the Swine Knowledge Exchange Trip saw delegates receive the latest insights into animal nutrition, and experience US production processes first‐hand. Dr Bill Hollis, Senior Partner at Carthage Veterinary Service (CVS), Illinois, welcomed the European group to his practice where he and his team oversee 27 farms, representing approximately 118,000 sows.
Collaborating on best practice in US and European production systems had real value, he said: “Their interest is quite strong in production and how we manage pigs here for our clients. What we shared with them was some of the production strategies that we use to implement health programmes for the farm, some of the production tools that we use on the farm and specifically how our business is structured.”
Alain Bourdonnais Novus International Product Manager for Minerals, said there was value for both sides of the exchange. “Our US industry colleagues were very interested in exchanging current practices with the European delegates, who in turn are very eager to learn more about the US, where corn is readily accessible, cost constraints are not the same and farm sizes vary greatly. And to some extent what they see in the US confirms what they are doing in Europe in terms of formulation of the diet, cost management, animal growth and production plans.”
Delegates were also given the chance to visit the Novus’s production facility at Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as the company’s headquarters in St Charles, Missouri. Stefano Merlini, from Italian feedmill company Famavit, who attended the trip, said the exchange had been very beneficial.
“I learnt a lot about the way Americans do very similar work to what we do in Italy. It was a really good experience to learn more about what they’re doing and what we can do with Mintrex. “Everything about Italian and US production is different, because of different targets of weight and how to feed the pigs. In some ways they aren’t comparable but we can learn a lot from this exchange, for example about biosecurity – where America is really good and perhaps we are not as strong. It has been a good opportunity to transfer experiences.”
Stefan Büngener‐Schröder from German company GS Agri, commented the visit at CVS: “The most interesting thing for me was at the sow farm where the piglets are produced, and the open conversation with the farm manager. To see actual production using Mintrex minerals in the sow diet. To see that the feet and legs of the sows are very healthy, and that the general health status of the animals is very good. For me, that was the most interesting part.”
To learn more on the participants’ feedback on the trip and how EU swine experts view Mintrex, read the blog.