A healthy pig is a sustainable pig

12 February 2020

The Dutch pig farming sector is an international frontrunner where sustainability and efficiency are concerned. Healthy animals which deal with minerals efficiently form an important part of this. ForFarmers emphatically contributes to this with its feeds and guidance. The bar was recently significantly raised again with the introduction of the ULTRA finisher feed.

Plenty of attention has been devoted to the pigs’ health for many years. We used to be primarily concerned with goals like reducing the use of antibiotics and improving returns, whereas health now also plays an important role in achieving our sustainability objectives. Good intestinal health, for example, is important for a low feed conversion* and therefore efficient mineral utilisation. This, in turn, reduces phosphate, nitrogen and CO2 emissions. Healthy pigs will naturally also feel better and won’t need any medication. This is good for both the pig and the farmer and is now also increasingly important for society.


Ultimate recycling animal

More generally, pigs are the ultimate recycling animal. This may seem quite obvious at companies with by-products, but large amounts of residual flows are also used in conventional compound feeds. The pig takes up an important position in circular agriculture in ForFarmers’ vision, partly as a result of the feed innovations and improvements.

Optimal feed composition

ForFarmers has seen the focus on health as a matter of course for years. This is realised with an optimal feed composition and a great deal of attention being devoted to the correct use of the feeds on the farms. ForFarmers is also ahead of its competitors where new developments like fermentation are concerned. This ensures raw materials are made better use of, which benefits both the animals’ health and efficiency.

Comparison of national figures

The introduction of the ULTRA feed package for finishers in 2019 seamlessly links into the required development. This is because the ULTRA feeds improve intestinal health and subsequently increase the conversion of feed into meat too. This also became apparent from a comparison between the national average figures and the results of practical tests conducted by ForFarmers. ForFarmers companies using the ULTRA feed package are realising a growth of 873 grams per day, compared to 841 grams at the average Dutch company. This significant increase in growth has resulted in a reduction of the EV conversion** from 2.74 to 2.71. The drop in losses shows it improves health too; these have reduced from 2.4 to 2.2 percent.

More from less

However, these good results are by no means a reason to rest on our laurels. ForFarmers’ specialists will continue to look for interesting raw materials and techniques to get ‘more from less’ and to subsequently continue to contribute to sustainable and accepted pig farming.

*) Feed conversion is a measure of the efficiency with which an animal converts its feed into body weight.
**) EV conversion is the feed conversion corrected for energy value. This coefficient is often used to compare feeds.