The effective enterprise starts with an employee taking his work as his own business.
I’ve heard Mr. Getman’s addresses at various seminars and forums on pig production repeatedly. My attention was always pulled by his deep knowledge in almost each aspect of that concerning growing pigs irrespective of what it comes to: equipment, food and feeding, genetics and economics of production or management of staff. That’s unbelievable it wasn’t an agricultural university he graduated from. But the very fact he got five certificates for his developments having appeared in his diploma thesis may give us some insights: Volodymyr Getman is an innovator and a searcher by nature. A deal of technological innovations has come into life and become popular among Ukrainian pig production enterprises owing to his successful initiative. We got closer meanwhile our training course in pig production in USA in terms of program «Cochrane». So long as a significant part of the advanced technologies of pig production of USA we were demonstrated has been already brought into use in «Dnipro-Gibryd» I just couldn’t avoid the occasion to visit his enterprise.
— Mr. Volodymyr, why did you make up your mind to substitute the work in a bank that appears to be calmer for that in agriculture?
— That’s because of piece. I feel comfortable and inspired working under dynamic conditions only as there’re tasks requiring creative and unconventional approach. That’s when a team is a fount of ideas and the system you work in is ready to take all your innovations. It was during the period of the bank department where I worked. But the period of explosive progress faded away and the period of settling down and overorganization came instead. Such conditions are like stagnant water for me when it sorely lacks of oxygen. That’s why I and my direct supervisor in bank, Viktor Ketov, who is my business partner at the moment decided to change the scope of activity cardinally in three and half years.
— Well, it comes to be cardinal change as a matter of fact given that you both are city dwellers having no experience in agriculture branch at that time.
— But we did have huge enthusiasm! Every enterprise in Maryanivka County used «Don» and «Niva» machines breathing their last to gather corn in mid-90-s. And we bought not new but powerful harvester «Claas», formed mobile brigade of machine operators and started to serve in harvesting. Later we rented 250 ha of arable land. Things went well and soon we had to buy one machine more — the «Lan». But by 2002 we devoted ourselves to pig production only.
— A cardinal change again?
— The reason was that the enterprises used to pay in corn. Grain’s cheapness wasn’t the only problem (40 dollars for a ton of barley). One had to cope with selling it for real money. Thus I and Viktor Ketov realized we needed to create something new desperately. Logically we decided to get an advantage on account of expanding of our production chain that is to build up added value by means of feeding the pigs with our own corn. So then we bought neglected dairy farm being unused for about 7 years in 2000 in village of Pyatyhatka nearby Zhovti Vody. There were three buildings and milking facilities premise. The last couldn’t be used as a production space so now it is a canteen for personnel, the farm headquarters, warehouse, workshops and state veterinarian and sanitarian offices who verify all the meat coming from a slaughter house of «Dnipro-Gibryd».
— Why did you give up crop production?
— First of all crop production has too many risks to deal with which could be covered by huge output only. Secondly but probably it appears to be the most important thing we happened to feel once that pig production is our thing! Therefore the field we directed all the forces and founds into including money received from the selling of our combine machines was pig production.
— What did you start with and what are the greatest difficulties you had to overcome?
— Well, we started with 38 sows bought in Elita, ltd which is situated in Kyiv region. And the difficulties didn’t make us wait: when we started the price of pork was UAH 7,5/kg, we came to the point of selling of our first commodity pigs the price dropped till UAH 3,2/kg! Such terms forced us to get engaged into slaughtering and marketing on our own. We got all the necessary licenses, bought special van and began to sell our pork in Zhovti Vody using the trade name of «Bekon». We sold our product for almost 7 UAN per kilo and the consumers got high quality meat for cheaper price than on the market. Thus we felt the taste of independence and learned that every problem meets its solution. But over years of our work we had to search the solutions too often.
— By the way what areas does the company of Promagrocombinat develop besides pork production?
— Every new area of activity comes to life in evolutional way. It happened because life made us look for ways out. Our enterprise commenced to operate at the beginning of 2000s when the main problem of every producer was the absence of reliable partners in supplying (of feed, equipment, veterinarian medicine etc.) and in marketing of final product. In recent years the situation has been improving little by little but for instance our relations with a meat-packing factory still cannot be considered as a partnership for just let the bootleg party of pork to appear as most of plants forget about any arrangements and leave you empty-handed.
But still we were lucky twice since our farm existence. In other cases we had to go by trial and error that is to select and test farm equipment without assistance, to organize feed production, slaughter and marketing of pork etc. We were getting bumps on our heads but at the same time we were accumulating knowledge and experience. Our colleagues began to ask us for an advice on feeding and as result we developed another area of our activity and started to distribute our own forage. We established two enterprises for these purpose: «Promagrokorm» and «Promagromiks». Later we began to receive more requests to give a hand in selecting equipment, calculating and planning. All these helped us to move to a new level and «Promagrokombinat» got a new consulting and engineering unit which is head by technical director Yuriy Sautkin.
— What do you consider to be the main factor of a success in pork production?
— Once I came across a wise book of Dutch authors which tells about the features of antibiotics and right selection of them. But what impressed me most was the appeal to readers on the first page. Four conditions are important for pig production enterprise. They are as follows: compliance with biosafety measures (fencing, close type of farm, changing rooms, quarantine etc.), finely tuned ventilation and microclimate systems, keeping animals by small groups and strict adherence to the principal of «empty-occupied». And the authors emphasizes that if your enterprise doesn’t meet an only condition mentioned above then you have no need to go on reading the book for no antibiotic will help you to become profitable at those challenges which wait for you.
We are paying a deal of attention to ventilation and microclimate systems at our enterprise. Because of the air is a principal resource for animals. Just try and breathe half as large. It doesn’t feel comfortable, does it? You won’t think of water and food having such a feel, will you? At that each age and sex group has its own particular needs concerning microclimate. The most important animal on the farm is a sow, for such production figures as a level of insemination, quantity of live births and weaned piglets depend on that how comfortable a sow feels.
— What are the plans of «Dnipro-Gibryd» for the near future?
— We go on working with the same enthusiasm particularly on improving of the quality of genetic and breeding of our animals. You may not believe me but the hardest moment in pig production for me is to slaughter animals. That’s why I do want to market live pigs. We’ve got resources and wish to expand our production twice as much. But I am confident an enterprise’s secret of success lies not in the size of farm but in the attitude to one’s business and management. Every person engaged in any kind of business develops it according to his horizon. I found my own philosophy of pig production in a photo of American farmer of 1920s. Since that time I’ve been concluding every my address and presentation with the photo. It shows a farmer who holds a piglet in his hand and feed it with a small bottle. So many years, technologies and approaches have changed but pig production essence has stayed put. I mean we have a human, an animal and a tool for care of it. But successful enterprises are those only which keep up the element that unites this triad and this element is good and responsible attitude to animals.
1. What are the peculiarities of farrowing and lactating sows housing in Dnipro-Hybryd?
2. In two days after insemination the sows are moved to group housing. Isn’t it harmful for saving the farrowing?
3. Dnipro-Hybryd was the first enterprise in Ukraine that imported cryogenetically preserved semen. What pushed you to make such a decision and are you satisfied with the results?
4. Why is the decision to buy electronic feeding stations considered to be fateful?
5. How does the deep litter in the unit of group housing of sows help to maintain good health and better microclimate?
6. What peculiarities of staff management help the enterprise to obtain high productive results?
7. What pushed the enterprise to develop its own computer program of recording and managing of the herd performance?
You can read more in the magazine publication «Profitable Pig Production», № 3 (9), 2012