All good things come to those who wait. This may not always be the case, but as far as our plans with the monofermentor are concerned, this proverb seems to ring completely true. We recently incurred some delays in the building of the monofermentor at the demo farm De Hoeve, but these delays actually helped us to make more progress than we would have done otherwise.
In my previous blog, I wrote that the new monofermentor would be operational this summer, but this didn’t quite work out as planned. Because the building of the machines entailed somewhat more than we had envisaged, it took longer for the design to be finalised. However, the monofermentor has now been built, and the first components were transferred from Friesland to our premises in Valkenswaard by special transport last week. The chassis and the inner rings have now been installed and set up, and the upper part of the machine will be delivered to us in August in the middle of the night, again by special transport. Consequently, the monofermentor will not come into use until after the summer.
In the meantime, we have been keeping busy. Initially, we thought that the monofermentor would only be of use for the manure from the meat pigs housed in the new barn, but at De Hoeve we’re now also removing manure from the existing maternity pens and the renovated weaning-piglet barns. As a result, all of the company’s manure is now suitable for monofermentation. This is good news, as the daily manure removal and the monofermentation create a cleaner atmosphere in the barns, meaning that air scrubbing is no longer necessary. The scrubber systems can therefore now be switched off everywhere, which is a saving we will all welcome.
It’s pleasing that when we were so hard at work finding a solution for tail-biting in the weaning-piglet barns, the solution we ultimately found was a solution that also improves the environment. This just goes to show that our integrated approach yields sustainable solutions at no extra cost whatsoever. What’s more, the cost of manure removal, electricity and gas is decreasing, as will the cost of veterinary care, thanks to the animals being healthier. The improved health of the animals will in turn provide for a better product that is in line with the KDV Plus concept.
The delay in the building of the monofermentor meant that we were able to consult with a number of other pig farmers who are interested in our method. At the moment, we are collaborating with six farms across the provinces of North Brabant, Gelderland and Overijssel to find out how they can also make the transition to daily manure removal and monofermentation. In addition, we are receiving support from the provincial authorities, as they recognise the fact that the development of alternative systems is an essential part of the development of sustainable pig farming.
All good things come to those who wait. Sometimes we have to wait longer than I would like, but the fact that what we are doing is good is abundantly clear. In my next blog, I hope to be able to demonstrate this by means of concrete examples.