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"Individual feeding ensures more consistent litters "

Benjamin Kastner (Germany)

Almost a year on, the farm 's experience with Nedap ESF feeding stations is extremely positive. The sows are producing much more consistently. And sow farmer Benjamin Kastner (30) has every confidence that the individual feeding he uses will lead to better technical results on his farm.
But first all the animals have to get used to the new system. "That takes a while. You have to reckon with a nine-month transition period, " he says.

 Nedap Varkens Voerstation - dynamische groep The best feed
He runs the farm with its 350 sows in Westendorf bei Donauwörth near Augsburg with his father, Josef. The best feed for the pigs is a top priority for the Kastners. They have more than 120 hectares of land on their farm on which they grow maize, barley, wheat and sugar beet. Apart from the sugar beet, the whole harvest is used to make feed for the pigs. And that all happens on the farm too: the grain is milled and then mixed with bought-in raw materials such as soya meal to make a tasty and nutritious meal for the sows.

Main reason
"Individual feeding was our main reason for choosing Nedap ESF feeding stations, " says Kastner. He shows us on his computer screen which sows have not yet eaten up their "˜meal ' today. Extra attention is given to any sows who do not finish their food.  On average, he achieves a result of 23 piglets per sow. Since building the new shed with ESF feeding stations almost a year ago, that number has increased. Kastner expects his results to further improve in the future, not least because all the animals are now used to the system.

Pecking order
Tranquillity is the prevailing word in the group " except when new animals arrive. Then the pecking order just has to be re-established and peace returns. Kastner has noticed that the pecking order depends very much on which pig has been in the shed the longest. "It has nothing to do with the strength or character of the pig; it 's simply the sow that has been in the stall longest who 's the boss. "

Colleagues of Kastner 's who have visited his farm are enthusiastic about the system. Outsiders too " who often associate the sector with caged pigs. "Group housing is being imposed on us by the EU, but it certainly has a positive effect on the sector 's image, " says Kastner.

 Nedap technologie

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