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Big Dutchman Inaugurated Major Projects In Croatia

by 5m Editor
25 July 2007, at 7:16am

CROATIA - The Croatian town of Belje located in the border triangle of Hungary, Croatia and Serbia, is looking back on a tradition of more than 100 years in pig management. The special trait of local pig managers is that they go for innovations.

The Croatian company Agrokor d.d.* has continued this tradition by constructing two ultra-modern sow management farms each for a number of 1,400 sows. For the housing equipment Agrokor d.d. has chosen the German equipment supplier Big Dutchman as their partner. After a construction time of only 150 days, recently a representative of the Croatian agricultural ministry inaugurated the two farms in an official ceremony with more than 200 guests. The echo from the media was very large also, as could be seen from the national coverage in the press and on television afterwards.

Fit for EU

Dragan Marcinko (speaker) and Kresimir Kuterovac (second on the left), two of the leading managers at Agrokor in charge of the construction and operation of Brod Pustara I and Malo Knezevo

The farms Brod Pustara I. and Malo Knezevo represent the turning of the times Croatian agriculture is currently facing: Croatia is aiming at a membership in the European Union. Even if the accession, for which quite a number of statutory provisions have to be put into practice, is focussed on only for 2009 at the earliest, Agrokor d.d. has constructed and equipped the two farms completely according to the current EU guidelines. In this respect valuable support was given by the German equipment supplier Big Dutchman, because the world wide market leader from Vechta-Calveslage in Lower Saxony has been working on the central and east European market for more than 15 years already with great success. That is what makes them an experienced contact partner when putting into practice legal standards valid in these economic areas, which means also regarding EU standards.

All-purpose equipment

Both farms Brod Pustara I and Malo Knezevo each have a service centre, a waiting area, a farrowing area as well as a building for rearing. At Brod Pustara I there is the replacement area next to the rearing area. All grandparent and parent pigs as well as the piglets stem from this farm that means all the genetics come from here, while F1 sows area kept in Malo Knezevo. When the piglets have reached a live weight of approx. 30 kg, they are transferred to a company-owned finishing farm.

If in modern sow management, the litter size per sow has to be increased, housing and feeding systems have to be tailor-made for the special circumstances on the farm – and of course they have to take into consideration the animals' welfare. This does not sound too complicated, it is mostly quite tricky however to put into practice, particularly at farms of the size of Brod Pustara I and Malo Knezevo. Therefore, not only innovative equipment, but also great experience in the concept and implementation is required – which is the case at Big Dutchman, as can be seen from the perfectly fitting result in Croatia.

Farrowing pen with piglet nest and floor heating

The sows in the service centre are kept in Big Dutchman crate stands, which allows to optimally observe and control the individual animals. Boars and gilts are housed in individual pens. The service area however is equipped with group pens and self-closing sow crates: Sows can move freely within the group, feeding is done however at crate stands. This provides each animal with its own feeding place avoiding aggression during feeding. At the same time, group management improves the welfare and constitution of the sows. The farrowing area has to offer ideal conditions to sows and piglets during their first weeks of life. This is the case due to hygienic Big Dutchman flooring systems, integrated heating plates for piglets and optimum-sized pen systems, i.e. with an optimum solid-to-void ratio. Keep-off rods in the farrowing crate help to reduce piglet losses. The rearing area also contributes to the animals' welfare, among others due to the non-slip plastic flooring protecting the animals from injury. A floor heating and hot water heating system ensure optimum temperatures.

The new feeding technology moreover adds to the success. Therefore the individual areas are equipped with different Big Dutchman feeding systems as well as is the case with the housing equipment: Depending on the requirements, dry feeding systems as well as different automatic feeders are used starting with the volume dispensers for feeding the sows through to automatic feeders as type BD Swing for the rearing area.

Volume dispensers

Agrokor d.d. decided for a Diff-Air ceiling made of trapezoïdal plates in the farrowing and rearing area and an FAC intake air unit in the service centre and waiting area, two bestsellers from Big Dutchman for air intake. The Diff-Air ceiling ensures homogenous distribution of fresh air while keeping up an optimum speed of air; at the same time it serves as a cost-effective insulation of the ceiling. The houses are heated by means of a Delta pipe heating system in the farrowing and waiting areas as well as a ribbed tube heating system in the service centre and waiting area. The MC 135 climate computer controls the entire house climate – efficiently, but absolutely user-friendly.

5m Editor