The Swine Innovation Centre in the Netherlands will officially close. As of coming December 31st 2018 the current activities will be phased out. The last researches finalize at the end of 2020, after which the last pigs will be sold. To continue its research with swine Wageningen Livestock Research is working on new research coalitions.
Altered research market
The market for pig research has declined sharply after the disappearance of the product boards. As a result, an important basis for research funding at the Swine Innovation Centre in Sterksel (VIC Sterksel), The Netherlands, has been discontinued. Annie de Veer, director Wageningen Livestock Research: 'Investing is necessary to remain a leading innovation centre for the pig farming sector. This is not feasible without a structural solid financial basis. New coalitions for applied research are therefore necessary'.
The transition in the pig farming sector towards more sustainable and socially responsible pig farming systems makes it necessary to take stock of the expertise and facilities required for innovative and qualitative research. This is why Wageningen Livestock Research looks at various partnerships with, among others, knowledge institutions and the business community. 'Different options and different locations are possible, in collaboration with parties that also have an interest in a research farm. We also want to conduct more research in practice together with pig farmers in which the pig farmer facilitates and the researchers supervise the on-farm research and safeguard the scientific way of working', says Theo Duteweerd, manager of VIC Sterksel.
Challenges in the sector require research
Although the Swine Innovation Centre disappears, pig research continues. Annie de Veer: 'We are faced with a number of serious challenges, which we are happy to accept. Important issues in the sector clearly need research. Further improvement of the health and welfare of the animals, big data, sensor technology and circular climate-neutral pig farming are examples of research areas that are very relevant for the coming years.’
About the Swine Innovation Centre
The Dutch Swine Innovation Centre (VIC Sterksel) is a multifunctional, national and international research centre for modern, innovative and sustainable pig farming. The research covers all aspects of pig farming, including nutrition, welfare, health, emissions, housing and mineral management.