We caught up with Rob van Schie, international product manager pigs for De Heus, at VIV Europe.
He said the industry shift away from antibiotic usage has created a need for high-performing feed, particularly at the piglet stage, and the new De Heus dedicated piglet feed factory in Andel in the Netherlands was developed to provide such a product.
The plant, said van Schie, has been operational since the beginning of April, and its grind capabilities ensures a product that will deliver on feed conversion ratios.
“We say grind fine if you want piglets to grow, grind coarse if you want them to stay healthy. Piglets need fine grains for enzymatic digestion and a coarser feed for fermentation activity,” said the product manager.
The Andel factory produces numerous feeds for piglets at various growth stages, depending on the market it is targeting - feed for up to one week after weaning, and for up to 20kg or 25kg in weight.
The grain used in the facility is always sourced from the same farmers co-operative in Northern France, said van Schie, which ensures uniformity in the taste of the feed, a critical factor when developing feed for piglets as they are extremely taste sensitive.
“We also don’t add liquids to the feed at the new plant, as wetting the mix can interfere with taste consistency in the final pellet.
As well as ensuring a consistent taste, we sieve the grains to remove any agricultural residues such as dust or straw and other seeds,” he said.
The Romelko feed line has also been extended, as part of the new feeding system, to ensure pig producers have a premium feed for each age, said van Schie.
He said that De Heus will be building a similar dedicated piglet feed line in Vietnam and Brazil in the next two years.