It acquired a pig farm in Beuningen, the Netherlands, which will be the site of the center.
A spokesperson for De Heus told FeedNavigator: "In a couple of months, we will start the rebuilding process. We expect to [start] production at the end of next year."
The build will take account of the latest insights in animal husbandry, nutrition and data technology.
“Healthy and sustainable global pig farming,” is the ultimate goal of the initiative, said De Heus. “[The] aim [is] to enable healthy pigs to produce optimally with as little impact on the environment and society as possible.”
Research must reflect the reality of pig production as much as possible, said the company.
Simulation of production, under controlled conditions, is therefore a precondition for its research, it added.
The construction of the facility will provide additional insights to further improve its sow and piglet feeds, as well as adding value to the pig chain, said De Heus.
The center will have room for 250 sows with their piglets, breeding sows and 900 fatteners, allowing feed research to be undertaken across the different animal groups, in order to determine long-term effects, said the feed group.
“Multiple feed studies can be carried out, in parallel. Data [down] to [the] individual animal level can be collected and analyzed through intelligent technology…. the insights gained in this way provide added-value to innovation.”
The facility will also enable knowledge sharing with national and international pig farmers, and it will include viewing corridors from which the animals can be observed from different angles, said De Heus.
Brazilian pig feed plant
The feed manufacturer has recently been expanding pig feed capacity in markets further afield.
August saw the official opening of its new pig feed production facility in Paraná, Brazil, which the group flagged up as brining a new paradigm regarding quality and health safety standards in pre-start feeds for piglets.
It said it invested R$25 million (USD$7.9m) in the plant, based in Toledo, with the capital raised from equity.
"De Heus’ industrial unit in Toledo was designed with an unprecedented, high-standard production system with a capacity of up to 50,000 tons/year of piglet feed in two shifts - a volume with the potential to feed 8.5 million piglets per year – equivalent to the average production of 280,000 sows. We are already producing the new line of premium feed for piglets, Romelko, [in the plant],” said the CEO, Koen De Heus.