30 August 2002

Dutch fast

to finishing

REDUCING finishing times by 14 days can be achieved if producers use the latest feeding techniques, believes Dutch producer Rein van As.

"Pig producers in Holland face many problems, not least of which is a quota restricting the number of pigs they may have on their farm at any one time. Reducing finishing times means we can finish more pigs in a year, without any extra quota," said Mr van As.

With quota costing k250 (£159) a head and a 40% siphon in operation, investing in quota is something which Dutch producers avoid. In Mr van As case alternatives include feeding bread and biscuit waste and investing in new feeding technology to boost performance.

Using the transition feeding concept, he has reduced finishing time by 14 days, allowing an extra 1000 pigs to be finished every year. The only investment has been in feeders.

"Feeding bread and biscuit waste has helped to keep feed costs low, with total costs for taking a finishing pig from 23kg to 105kg as low as £20," he said.

All feeding on Mr van As unit is automated, so the 150-sow breeding unit and finishing houses are run by just one full-time worker and an assistant for 1.5 days a week.

"It is important to reduce the number of daily chores to a minimum. By automating all feeding, a major chore has been taken out of the pig management."