“We can feed each sow exactly according to our pre-set feed curve."
Owner and operator
About the farm
- 500 sows
- Expanded from 300 sows at transition to ESF
- Multi-generation family farm
"Peaceful and good for the sows"
Nedap precision in action in Germany
Klaus Wendell has been pleasantly surprised with the performance of his 500 sows in group gestation pens with Nedap Electronic Sow Feeding Stations. Wendell’s farm is located near village of Scheggerott in northern Germany, along the Danish border.
“I had expected it to be a lot more problematic,” he says, reflecting on the transition to group housing combined with an expansion from 300 sows that took place in 2007.
One of the primary benefits of Nedap Electronic Sow Feeding is the ability to precisely feed individual sows within a group, Wendell says.
“We can feed them exactly according to our pre-set feed curve. We only need to intervene with sows if the computer flags them as different,” says Wendell.
Wendell uses the system to keep sows in excellent condition for optimal performance, and the precision is paying off. The farm has been experiencing a rebreed rate of less than 10 percent and about 28 weaned piglets per sow per year.
Another major advantage of the Nedap Electronic Sow Feeding Stations is that they make group housing possible and affordable, Wendell says. He thinks they also are good for public perception of pig farming. As elsewhere, consumers in this part of Germany are paying closer attention to developments in animal agriculture.
“People who visit our sheds here are often surprised to see how relaxed and happy our sows are,” Wendell says.
Wendell’s pens are bedded with straw, and his sows have access to the outdoors at all times. In addition to the sow business with 500 animals, the company has pens for 5,000 finishing pigs.
Wendell grew up on a farm that kept sows in crates, so he has experience with gestation stalls versus group housing. “There were good reasons to care for sows that way at the time,” says Wendell. “But you can’t do that anymore, and group housing is also a good system in practice. It’s peaceful and good for the sows.”
Automated sow feeding is an efficient tool, but it doesn’t replace the expertise of a barn manager or employee, Wendell says.
The Nedap ESF system works well and helps Wendell stay competitive in the market now and in the future, he says.
“We plan to continue to use technical innovations to enable us to take better care of more animals and make our business more profitable at the same time,” says Wendell.Learn more about electronic sow feeding