Monday 30th of May a delegation of EU officials was informed about the latest development in pig research at the Swine Innovation Centre Sterksel. The EU delegation is part of the Informal Agriculture Counsil in Eindhoven and Amsterdam, organised by Minister for Agriculture Van Dam of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
The delegation was received by General Director of the Animal Sciences Group of Wageningen UR, Martin Scholten, Director Livestock Research Annie De Veer and the Manager of VIC Sterksel Theo Duteweerd. Three main topics were discussed: Multi suckling for sows and their piglets, an Integral Sustainable stable for finishing pigs (called Starplus) and a cleaning installation to clean biogas. VIC Sterksel purchased odour resistant overalls so visitors can easily enter the farm.
Multi suckling for sows and their piglets fits in the stimulation of sustainable housing systems in the pig sector and provides a better transition from group housing during gestation. The sows and piglets live in a group. The piglets already learn at a young age from their mother how to eat and how to behave social. In this family stable eating and social habits are taught in a natural way, resulting in a stable piglet after weaning.
Last year the Starplus stable facilitated research on the natural behaviour of pigs and the impact on the housing system on the planet. The stable concept aims for more welfare for the pigs through more space per pig, functional areas, roughage supply and a covered outdoor area. The stable is supplied with a manure separation system that separates the manure directly at the source into solid manure and urine. Also it has a natural ventilation system. This type of stable has less ammonia emissions and lower energy consumption.
During the farm visit the delegation wore special overalls, called ‘Farmsuits’, which kept the visitors clothes fresh. Showering and clothing wasn’t necessary. This is an innovation of ‘Happy Workwear’. This company received the innovation award of the ForFarmers innovation fund last year.