Herd Profile

 

 

Wim van Wijk is the owner and operator of Horst Farms, a 275 sow farrow-to- finish farm located near Red Deer, Alberta.  In 2013 he was considering a herd depopulation to address a disease problem and decided that this was a good opportunity to move to groups. The timing could not have been better, as the transition was completed in time to realize strong market prices just as the herd was returning to production.

The renovation was completed over an 8 week period, with van Wijk doing most of the work himself. The main breeding room was converted into one large ESF pen capable of holding 168 sows, equipped with 3 Nedap feeders and a sorting area. ESF was selected in order to take advantage of individual feeding, with the aim of reducing feed costs and maintaining even body condition. The slatted floors were replaced with new slatted floors that had a gap width of 20 mm to give better footing, and concrete pads were poured in bedroom areas for added sow comfort and to encourage sows to lie away from the alleyways. e renovation was done at a reasonable price, with construction costs for renovating the 95 ft x 39 ft gestation barn being just over $250 per sow. This includes only the material costs for the renovation (ESF equipment, feed lines, concrete, slats and plastic penning) and excludes any labour cost.

The sows are mixed after breeding, and batch farrowed every 3 weeks. Overall, van Wijk is pleased with the conversion, saying, “Production levels have improved, with increased pigs born alive, and easier farrowing.”  In addition, the sows are easier to move; before the renovation it took two people to move sows to farrowing, and now it only takes one. “Sows are walking much easier from gestation to farrowing, and they are a lot calmer.

  • 275 sow farrow-to-finish
  • one Dynamic group with 3 ESF units
See Conversion Process

Process

The renovation was completed over an 8 week period, with van Wijk doing most of the work himself. The main breeding room was converted into one large ESF pen capable of holding 168 sows, equipped with 3 Nedap feeders and a sorting area. ESF was selected in order to take advantage of individual feeding, with the aim of reducing feed costs and maintaining even body condition. The slatted floors were replaced with new slatted floors that had a gap width of 20 mm to give better footing, and concrete pads were poured in bedroom areas for added sow comfort and to encourage sows to lie away from the alleyways. e renovation was done at a reasonable price, with construction costs for renovating the 95 ft x 39 ft gestation barn being just over $250 per sow. This includes only the material costs for the renovation (ESF equipment, feed lines, concrete, slats and plastic penning) and excludes any labour cost.