On April 12th, Dutch State Secretary of Agriculture Henk Bleker officially opened a higher-welfare and more sustainable pig house. Although the investments are quite high, pigs have a better growth rate and their meat and the meat should get a higher-welfare premium.

The innovative new pig housing concept has the name Starplus *** 4 PPP – The three stars are said to represent the high welfare standards of the barn and the four Ps stand for «People, Planet, Profit and Pigs»

It is welfare friendly, has a reduced ammonia, smell and methane emmision rate, produces sustainable energy and high quality artificial fertilizer.

The barn has different unique characteristics such as special indoor and outdoor areas, special inlets for daylight and a natural ventilation system. The latter two features will reduce the energy costs for mechanical ventilation and artificial lighting. Manure is removed continously from the barn, creating a clean and fresh indoor environment for the animals and farmer. A great part of the manure – together with left-over rooting material – can be used for sustainable energy production on-farm.

This housing system has been developed by a a consortium of companies: HoSt BV, Kempfarm BV and Wopereis Staalbouw BV, together with Wageningen UR Livestock Research. The next two years, the barn will be tested under experimental conditions ( pig research centre Sterksel, part of Wageningen University) and under practical circumstances at a conventional pig farm.

[Source: Wageningen UR]