“Our farm cannot do without automatic feeding and selection.”
Overtorp and Dyringhavegrisen, Denmark
About the farm
- 1,000 outdoor sows
- 2,000 + 4,000 finishing pigs
- 400 finishing pigs per group
- 450 ha of arable farming
- 11 empoyees
Saving valuable time
Maximum yield price and uniform groups with the Nedap PorkTurner
Her dad used to have a traditional pig farm. But after she finished her agricultural study, Nielli Simmelsgaard started an outdoor pig farm on a large scale. “With these amounts of pigs, there’s no way you can handle this without automation. The Nedap PorkTurner is saving us a lot of valuable time”, Nielli says confidently.
In the Danish town Overtorp Nielli and her husband Tommy have 1,000 free range sows. The piglets stay there up to thirty kilos. Fifty kilometers away from the sow farm they have two locations of 2,000 and 4,000 finishing pigs. In Denmark it is compulsory to have enough arable land to be able to dispose of all manure. Therefore Tommy takes care of the 450 hectares of potatoes and grain, where Nielli runs the pig farm. Altogether they have eleven employees. Most of them are Danish, but there is also an Ukrainian and a Hungarian working on the farm. “Thankfully they speak Danish, that is a requirement for us to communicate with each other”, laughs Nielli.
Having outdoor pigs was a real challenge in the beginning. Nielli explains: “A big difference with indoor pigs for example is that you have to plan your daily activities much more ahead. Because you can only move outdoor sows early in the morning when they are hungry. Another difference is that pigs show more natural behavior, which includes sometimes an aggressive approach towards people when a sow has newborn piglets. You have to be aware of that.”
Better return on investment
From the very beginning they work with an automated system for the finishing pigs. “All our free range pigs have long tails”, states Nielli. “That’s why we use a lot of straw as a diversion material to prevent tail biting, which of course is very labor-intensive. By automating feeding and separating the animals, we save a lot of valuable time.” On the location with the 4,000 finishers they have the Nedap PorkTurner. The Simmelsgaard family hold them in ten groups of 400 pigs. In Denmark there are two possible automation systems. “The Nedap system has a better return on investment and is easier to work with. So that’s why we choose the Nedap PorkTurner. We think it is a great system”, is Nielli’s conviction.
Easy to use
Nielli thinks back to the start-up phase: “Before we chose the Nedap system, we focused on the website and were well informed by Agrisys, the Nedap business partner. The software is very easy to use, and Agrisys did an excellent installation and gave us good support. The integration of the Nedap software within our management software also went smoothly. The learning phase went very well and in a few months everything worked perfectly. Our manager Kasper Kvist followed the introductory course and afterwards had only small questions”, Niellie remembers.
Nielli mentions the maximization of the yield price per pig – maximum bonus, no penalty discount – and the uniformity of the group as the greatest advantages of the PorkTurner. When a pig reaches market weight, the system automatically cuts it from the group by directing it to a delivery section. “Our Nedap PorkTurners have a three-way exit and I would definitely recommend that above a two-way exit”, Nielli says. “In this way we use the floor most efficiently and the pigs have optimal access to the feed.”
They use two types of feed: from 30 – 70 kg a protein-rich grow feed and from 70 kg till slaughter (120 kg) a cheaper, more satiating finishing feed. For every free range pig they deliver within the right weight class with an optimal muscle-fat ratio, they receive a 5 DKK bonus (€ 0,67) per kilo above the standard Danish Crown price. So that makes a really big difference on the total revenue. On average they manage to receive a bonus for 80% of the delivered pigs.
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