BRÖRING and Big Dutchman start “havito: the welfare barn with solid flooring”
“We have broken ground,” exclaims Frank Bergmann, project manager for Bröring Pig Partner. As planned, the BRÖRING and Big Dutchman project of constructing a joint “havito” research barn outside of Dinklage started truly gaining traction on 23 September. The barn is scheduled to be ready for operation by the second half of 2022. In the future, this barn will see the development of new management and feeding methods, meeting the high animal welfare requirements of the society and the pigs. The project partners invest around EUR 2.3 million in the research barn.
The new barn uses a closed system (birth-to-finish, BTF) and a partially closed system (birth-to-rear, BTR), meaning that piglets born in this barn remain with their siblings until they are ready for slaughter. They are not moved or mixed with other piglets. With the BTR method, the piglets stay within the group of siblings until the end of the rearing phase, when each piglet weighs approx. 30 kg. This has tangible advantages regarding hygiene and reduces stress, with positive effects on animal health and biological performance.
Focus on the pigs’ well-being
The triple use of the pen provides not only the sow with sufficient room for movement, but also the piglets and finishing pigs: the animals have around 40 percent more space to move around. The barn is designed to have bright rooms that are evenly lit by natural light. An innovative flooring system allows the pigs to carry out their natural rooting behaviour in special littered areas. Very clearly, this management method focuses on the pigs’ well-being.
Innovative separation of urine and faeces minimises formation of ammonia
A new manure removal system separates urine and faeces, which has several advantages. Less ammonia is formed, improving the air quality in the barn and reducing ammonia emissions in the exhaust air. With a dry matter (DM) content of 25 to 30 percent (slurry: 6 percent), the faeces contain most of the nutrients. Additionally, the urine can be spread on the fields specifically during the growing season.
[The video linked here shows how PigT works].
Cooperation with research institutes
The new research barn should be just as or even more successful than traditional barns that use slatted flooring, both from the view of the staff regarding ease of use and from an economic viewpoint. Cooperating with different research institutes, the barn will allow examining important questions as well as doing scientific research. The goal is to test new and effective feed mixtures that reduce the amount of phosphor and nitrogen the pigs excrete, thus helping to protect the environment.
Additionally, innovative feeding concepts will be put to the test, and students can research Bachelor’s and Master’s theses. A room for visitors will be included so interested groups and farmers can observe the management systems.
“The pigs’ well-being and perfect health status as well as an innovative, automated manure removal system will form a practicable basis for small and independent farmers to make good decisions for the future – regarding their workload, their economic success and sustainability,” concludes Big Dutchman product manager Dr. Birgit Hinrichs.
havito - the welfare barn for finishing pigs – the video ⇒