The Sterksel Swine Innovation Centre began using the StarPlus stall around two-and-a-half years ago. This article summarises the results in terms of the growth of the animals, financial aspects, mono fermentation and lying and dunging behaviour.
The StarPlus stall is an integral sustainable pig stall with a focus on human, animal and environmental needs. Pigs have more space in the StarPlus stall, including indoor space as well as a covered run. The entire stall is ventilated naturally by controlling emissions at the source. A manure conveyor system transports the manure to a mini fermentation unit.
Additional cost of €0.08
The StarPlus concept in this study would require an additional cost of €0.08 per kg of slaughtered product compared to the conventional 0.8 m2 in space for comparable results. Of this amount, €0.06 is based on extra feed costs (due to the outdoor climate) and €0.02 for housing. With possible savings in manure removal costs through manure separation, this amount can be reduced to €0.05. In addition to reduced costs, a higher market price can also be achieved for pork produced using the StarPlus concept.
Animal growth in StarPlus
There is no single factor that explains the higher growth rate in the StarPlus stall. The researchers expect that this cause can be found in a combination of unlimited feed and lower stall temperatures. Feeding the animals with green maize does not show any clear link to increased growth, but to an increased CV (calorific value) conversion of the pigs.
Cleaner solid floor
The spacious solid floor that was studied in the StarPlus system stays cleaner by:
- placing drinking troughs in the run
- having the solid floor grow along with the weight of the animals
- providing slatted floors that can be walked on easily, such as composite slats with 8 cm slats.
With a total manure quantity of 5,250 tonnes per year (from 300 farrowing sows and 3,000 fattening pigs), the calculated costs are €6 to €9 per tonne of manure. A smaller scale calculation shows that the costs per tonne of manure are considerably higher. With the use of self-generated heat, manure costs can be reduced to around €0.01 to €0.02 per tonne of manure.
Extra green maize accounts for pig welfare
Fattening pigs like to have a bucket of green maize. In comparison with straw maize has more nutritional value and it leads less quickly to blockages in the pit.