Major pig production sites launched, with technical support of Big Dutchman

CROATIA - Two, state-of-the-art sow facilities have been officially opened by Croatia's ministry of agriculture. Both of the 1,400-sow farms have been constructed in partnership with Big Dutchman, who have supplied and installed the housing and equipment.
calendar icon 6 June 2007
clock icon 5 minute read

The Croatian town of Belje, located in the border triangle of Hungary, Croatia and Serbia, is looking back on a tradition of more than 100 years in pig management.

The key skill of local pig managers here, is that they like innovation. The Croatian company Agrokor d.d.* has continued this tradition by constructing two ultra-modern 1,400-sow breeding farms. For the housing and equipment ,Agrokor d.d. chose the German supplier Big Dutchman as their partner.

After a construction time of only 150 days, a representative of the Croatian agricultural minister inaugurated the two farms in an official ceremony with more than 200 guests. Media interest was considerable and the opening featured in the national press and on television.

Fit For EU

Dragan Marcinko (speaker) and Kresimir Kuterovac (second on the left), two of the leading managers at Agrokor in charge of the construction and operation of Brod Pustara I and Malo Knezevo

The farms Brod Pustara I. and Malo Knezevo represent the turning tide of Croatian agriculture. The country is aiming for membership of the European Union, hopefully in 2009, and so quite a number of statutory provisions have to be put into practice.

Agrokor d.d. has constructed and equipped the two farms in line with current EU guidelines and Big Dutchman played an integral role offering valuable technical support.

The company, a world wide market leader, is based in Vechta-Calveslage, Lower Saxony and has been working successfully in the central and eastern European market for more than 15 years. This is what makes it an experienced contact partner when putting into practice legal standards valid in these economic areas, and also inline with EU standards.

All-purpose equipment

Both farms Brod Pustara I and Malo Knezevo have a service centre, a waiting area and a farrowing area as well as a building for rearing. At Brod Pustara I there is the replacement area next to the rearing area. All grandparent and parent pigs, as well as the piglets, are produced from this farm so all the genetics come from here. The F1 sows area kept in Malo Knezevo. When the piglets have reached a live weight of approximately 30 kg, they are transferred to a company-owned finishing farm.

The herd management programme has allowed for increases to litter size as the sows progress. The ability to increase housing and feeding systems have been integrated into the design of the system and facilities can be tailored for any special circumstances – and animal welfare requirement.

This may not sound complicated, it can be difficult to put into practice, particularly at farms of the size of Brod Pustara I and Malo Knezevo. Big Dutchman's innovative design application and vast experience was valuable here, as can be seen from the near perfect results on these two Croatian farms.

Dragan Marcinko (speaker) and Kresimir Kuterovac (second on the left), two of the leading managers at Agrokor in charge of the construction and operation of Brod Pustara I and Malo Knezevo

The sows in the service centre are kept in Big Dutchman stalls, which allows stockmen to observe and control the individual animals. Boars and gilts are housed in individual pens.

The service area is equipped with group pens and self-closing sow crates so sows can move freely within the group. Feeding is done in the stalls. This provides each animal with its own place avoiding aggression during feeding times. The group management system aids welfare.

The farrowing area must provide ideal conditions for sows and piglets during their first weeks of life. The hygienic Big Dutchman flooring system, with integrated heating plates for piglets and optimum-sized pen systems, - i.e. with an optimum solid-to-void ratio - are used for comfort and cleanliness. Farrowing crates have deflection rods that deflect piglets when sows get up and down. The design helps to reduce piglet losses through overlay.

The rearing area also contributes to the animals' welfare and has a non-slip plastic flooring which protects the animals from injury. A floor heating and hot water heating system ensures optimum temperatures.

Farrowing pen with piglet nest and floor heating

Ventilation best

Agrokor d.d. chose a Diff-Air ceiling made of trapezoidal plates in the farrowing and rearing area and an FAC intake air unit in the service centre and waiting area - two of Big Dutchman's best selling ventilation products. The Diff-Air ceiling ensures homogenous distribution of fresh air, while keeping up an optimum air speed; at the same time it serves as a cost-effective insulation of the ceiling.

The houses are heated by means of a Delta pipe heating system in the farrowing and waiting areas as well as a ribbed tube heating system in the service centre and waiting area. The MC 135 climate computer controls the entire house climate – its very efficient and also user-friendly.

This impressive major project has been designed and carried out in close co-operation with the Croatian Big Dutchman sales agency imex-bjelovar d.o.o., which headed up by Borivoj Vicevic, Managing Director. The agency is an exclusive Big Dutchman partner in Croatia and takes care of all sales, technical support and customer service in the region.

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