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Peculiarities of German pig production

Germany is situated in a rye zone of our planet that’s known as the most favorable area for cultivation of rye. So called «pig belt» has laid out in Lower Saxony; there are more than 8 million of pigs within 100 km. The farm of Franz Josef Atman is situated in this region; he shared the particularities of functioning of his farm with Ukrainian producers that visited Germany in terms of KWC Lochow «Rye Zone» seminar in early April.

What and how to grow is decided by our consumers.

— Mr. Atman, how long have you been engaged in pig production?

— It was my father who founded the farm that specialized in pig and crop production. I’ve been continuing his business and breeding pigs for over 30 years. We practice fattening only. We buy pigs weighting of 22-23 kg and then we feed them for 4 — 5 months up to 120 — 125 kg. Furthermore, the pigs should not be fat as modern consumers prefer lean pork. That’s the very product retail networks require from slaughterhouses and processing plants. Slaughterhouses and processing plants, in their turn, demand lean meat from us, the producers.

Every 5th pig grown in Germany is grown in our region.

— How many pigs do you fatten?

— Our farm started with 200 pigs. But we completed construction of a new hog house in February 2011desighned for 1800 animals so now we have a possibility to fatten 2000 pigs simultaneously. We provide forages for our pigs and 50 beef cattle ourselves as we cultivate 80 ha of land. Of course, we’d like to expand our cultivated area bur we have high concentration of pig farmers (every 5th pig produced in Germany is produced in this region), who need fields to manure disposal. Because of the strong demand it’s highly expensive to rent land: 1200 Euro/ha per year and it appears to be more expensive to buy land as the price reaches 50 — 60 thousands Euro for one hectare. So when we faced the task to expand our business we decided to invest in pig production.

We’ve survive only due to regional cooperation of farmers only

— Do you get any support from the government or industry associations?

— German pig producers don’t receive any grants or subsides. Instead we have a possibility to take long-term loans at 3 — 5% per year. Our industry associations are not as powerful as for example in Denmark or in France but regional cooperation of farmers is popular. Thus, we use agricultural machinery together with a few neighboring farmers. Owing to such a partnership we are able to buy powerful modern machines that we wouldn’t afford individually as pay-off period was too long. We are constantly balancing on the verge of profitability as Germany is self-sufficient in pork at 110% and the meat price depends largely on export. Therefore, we’re always looking for other ways to reduce costs. Rye usage in animal feed has become one of these ways.

Liquid feed contains from 20 to 55% of rye.

— What are the particularities and results of rye diets you use?

— We apply a liquid feed. Our pigs get freshly prepared food by means of pipeline. We limit feeding as we need a muscle tissue to grow more than fat. Food is prepared of corn cob mix, crushed rye and protein-vitamin-mineral supplements that are developed and made for us by feed mill. We import rye into the diet gradually. We start with 20% in the initial feeding and then we bring it up to 55% in the final. During the period of feeding the daily gains of our animals are in 800 grams. So we are satisfied using

— How many employees he has to serve 2000 pigs’ farm?

— How much does rye take in the structure of the farm crops and why do they prefer hybrid feed?

— How do they prepare and store crushed rye and what are the benefits of its usage?

— Why did they choose a liquid nutrition?

— What are your plans for the nearest future?

You’ll find the answers on the questions and the others in the full version of interview in «Profitable Pig Production» magazine of № 2, 2012.

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