New swine research unit looks to boost production efficiencies and environmental sustainability

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Bird’s eye view of Trouw Nutrition's Swine Research Centre in Boxmeer, the Netherlands © Trouw Nutrition
Bird’s eye view of Trouw Nutrition's Swine Research Centre in Boxmeer, the Netherlands © Trouw Nutrition

Related tags Antibiotics welfare biosecurity

A new research unit in the Netherlands will allow swine researchers to replicate production environments globally, making it possible for studies imitating conditions in Asia to be located literally in the next room to another study looking at conditions in Canada.

So says Trouw Nutrition as it opened a new swine nutrition and health unit at its Swine Research Center in Boxmeer, the Netherlands.

The commercial-scale, climate-controlled and bio-secure unit includes four research suites and allows researchers to simultaneously conduct multiple studies simulating swine production under diverse environmental conditions. 

Inaugurating the new research facility, Trouw Nutrition CEO, Saskia Korink, said the new unit  is looking to improve production efficiencies and environmental sustainability. “On average, production of farm animals worldwide is 30-40% below their genetic potential. Efficient production and sustainability go hand in hand.”

Trouw Nutrition says it conducts about 150 studies annually, half of which are run at its proprietary research centers. Its researchers partner with well-respected universities across the globe to conduct studies and develop innovations, while validation trials are undertaken in partnership with a network of farms spanning 26 countries. 

The new unit is looking to support research aimed at improving swine health and productivity without antibiotics.

“Feed, farm and health management interventions can be evaluated in controlled conditions to investigate mode of action and validate the efficacy of innovations to support animal health and performance.”

Animal welfare and biosecurity 

The research suites were designed with high levels of animal welfare and biosecurity in mind.

“Heated floors contribute to animal comfort while custom-designed pens with slot openings allow for natural social behaviors such as nose-to-nose contact between piglets in adjacent pens. Each pen has its own water supply connected to individual reservoirs, allowing for volumetric analysis and monitoring of intake.”

For optimal biosecurity, each room is equipped with separate ventilation to avoid cross-contamination. “Other biosecurity measures include areas set aside for showering and dedicated clothing/footwear to protect against disease transmission from animals housed in different units."

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