Danish pig breeders optimize for 40 piglets per

Åge Lauritzen is a seventh generation pig breeder at the company in Bramming, Denmark. He started by leasing the company with 600 sows with fattening pigs from his uncle. In 2012, he was able to take over his parents’ farm with 1,300 sows.

However, the parental farm was not designed for conversion into a collection shed for the pregnant sows, like his uncle’s farm. He stopped renting and the sow farm was converted into piglets and fattening pigs. Due to poor prices, the business development stalled until a finisher company could be bought in 2017. After that, a place for piglets and finishers was added.

The desire to keep sows himself persisted and in 2019 Lauritzen could take over an existing sow farm. It required renovation and renewal. For example, a milking parlor for piglets has been installed in the farrowing pen.

The Danish pig breeder Lauritzen receives a gift from HAS Den Bosch’s students © John Lamers

Name: Åge Lauritzen (40 years) Place: Bramming, Denmark Company: 1,020 DanAvl sows with piglet breeding for export. Lauritzen maintains a total of 74,000 piglets and 42,000 fattening pig places at three locations. Sale of 68,000 piglets. In addition, the company has 650 hectares of arable land and 80 hectares of forestry.

In addition, Lauritzen and his staff did a better job. “You have to involve the employees in this. They have to do it, I’m not there every day.

‘Adapt the work in consultation with your employees, they have to do it’

Low failure

The results have improved significantly since then. The Danavlssøerne now produce an average of 40 piglets per. so per year. This is due to the high number of live-born piglets and the low mortality rate in the farrowing pen of about 10 percent.

Achieving this result requires attention for piglets in the farrowing pen. ‘The employees are in the stable around the birth,’ says Lauritzen. ‘Some piglets give them an extra energy boost shortly after birth. From one day after birth, employees begin to consult with piglets and make nursing sows to breed the large litters. We also feed milk right from the second day. It’s really necessary to get healthy piglets. ‘

The weaned piglets are crawling on Lauritzen's farm
The weaned piglets are crawling under Lauritzen’s farm © John Lamers

After weaning, the piglets are moved to a well-heated ward with a crawl space and underfloor heating. Here the piglets receive dry food three times a day.

Own grain in liquid feed

All sows are fed with liquid feed. Liquid feed contains a large part of its own grain. As in Denmark, the sow farmer needs a lot of soil to get rid of the manure from his pigs. Incidentally, this manure first goes to a central manure fermentation and later returns to the soil as crude gas. ‘I get paid for the fertilizer I supply to the biogas plant. In addition, I receive part of the proceeds from the biogas. It’s extra interesting because of the increased energy prices. ‘

The pig breeder always wants to take a step forward in animal health and welfare. The sow’s location is already free of PRRS and mycoplasma. Two major diseases that affect the results. I also get vaccinated against the flu. ‘

Pregnant sows in boxes with exit and extra space in front of Lauritzen
Pregnant sows in stalls with outdoor area and extra space in front of Lauritzen © John Lamers

With regard to the welfare of the sows, permanent supplementary straw feeding during pregnancy and in the insemination path is already common practice. However, the sows are still fixed for the first four weeks after breeding. It is still allowed in Denmark.

Lauritzen will eventually go free in the farrowing pen. »It probably does not happen in this company. There is no room for that in the farrowing pen. Theoretically, I can increase the current farm considerably, but that’s probably not going to happen. It requires too large investments in, among other things, an air scrubber. I’m now looking for a suitable second farm. ‘

In addition to the sow farm – from which he sells piglets – the pig breeder has several places where he breeds piglets and partly keeps them as slaughter pigs. ‘I now have two suppliers of piglets. With one, I have no agreements on discounts if the piglets do not meet the requirements and I always get good piglets from that. I have agreements with the other about discounts. The quality of the piglets is simply much inferior. I would like my own piglets for that. ‘

DanBred: higher survival

The breeding organization DanAvl is constantly improving the genetic composition of the sows, says knowledge manager Ashley Norval from DanAvl, who has monitored the HAS excursion. The goal is a good earning capacity for the sowers. ‘The significance of the number of piglets on day five after birth is now 9 percent of the breeding target,’ says Norval. ‘The ultimate goal is of course as many slaughter pigs as possible per. so pr. year. So survival throughout the course from birth to slaughter is a very important breeding goal in the sun line. With the Duroc boar line, the fastest growth and the lowest feed turnover is and remains the most important within the overall breeding goal. ‘

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