EuroTier bills itself as the largest animal production trade show in the world. Held every two years in Hanover, Germany the show draws over 150,000 visitors from across the globe with 2400 exhibitors from over 50 countries.
If it has anything to do with animal husbandry, it’s at EuroTier. Robotic feeding and milking equipment, imaging cameras to digitally record pigs weights, BioFuel systems, manure processing equipment….digital this……computerized that.
Is all of it practical? Probably not.
But, as the global farming industry faces the prospect of feeding nine billion people by the 2050, we will need to embrace fresh ideas. We will need to challenge ourselves to develop systems that utilize workable technology with day to day reliability.
Hog Slat’s sales groups in each country work with local producers to create workable production systemsfor their individual farms. Hog Slat develops production ideas from around the world and adapts them to local conditions.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a couple of days at EuroTier 2014 (read more……). I asked the same question to the Hog Slat sales teams and country managers, ” What items are selling in your market?”
The answers varied, but they all had one common factor….SowMAX.
From German Country Manager, Karl-Heinz Wöste, “German producers understand feeding lactating sows as individuals results in heavier pigs at weaning. The SowMAX system accomplishes this task while reducing labor. Producers also like how simple the SowMAX is….no electronic ear tags to lose or motors to fail.”
“Our customers are adding SowMAX feeders to existing units” explained Rafal Bozek, Country Manager of Poland. “They tried a few units and saw the results…heavier pigs at weaning. For our producers, the SowMAX is the most durable unit on the market. 100% stainless steel. No plastic parts like competitive products. Simple to use too. Fill the hopper and sow eats as little or as much as she wants every day without wasting feed.”
Joining Hog Slat in our booth this year at EuroTier was Paul Vanberg and his son Matt from Vanberg Specialized Coatings. Vanberg Coatings products are recognized in the U.S. industry as the premier repair and protection products for both concrete and metal.
The concrete product line includes:
Con-Korite. Our “go to” for repairing broken slat edges and restoring corroded slats. (see more…..)
Eco-Crete. Good choice for routine repair on all concrete surfaces. (see more…..)
Armor-Rock. The tough stuff! Use around feeders and waterers to protect slats from aggressive chemicals and pig traffic (see more…..)
Metal repair products include:
EM-15 Epoxy Mastic: Used for interior repairs on metal ceilings and walls. (see more…..)
AMC-100 Coating: Exterior use on roofs and feed Bins. (see more…..)
Paul commented, “This was Vanberg Coatings first exposure to a world-wide audience. I’ll tell you one thing all livestock and poultry producers have in common,”
“They are pretty tired of using products that have not worked!”
“We introduced products used successfully for years in the U.S. to a whole new group of producers. Working with Hog Slat makes our products available in Europe, China and Latin America.”
I have been around Hog Slat for some 22 years now. In my opinion, one of Hog Slat’s biggest strengths comes from the company’s ability to take its proven equipment designs and adapt to local production methods.
Hog Slat introduced the concept of total slatted, curtain-sided finishing barns to the Midwest during the late 80’s. Hog Slat quickly changed the ventilation, manure handling and building materials to match local conditions, but the basic concept remained the same. This style of finishing building changed the way pigs were finished in the Midwest resulting in improved pig performance and increased profitability.
A similar situation is developing in Europe with Hog Slat.
Hog Slat’s display at EuroTier showcased a new line of steel equipment tailored to the European swine market. It’s a different type of equipment than you would see Hog Slat display at the World Pork Expo.
The first thing that comes to eye is the hot-dipped galvanized finish vs. the painted finish most common in the U.S. market. Interior space is more confined, and the building layouts reflect in equipment design. And of course EU regulations are followed regarding square footage allowed, penning and flooring design.
The Breeding stall features a split “saloon-style” back door. The split gate allows the operator to enter the stall while the closed section prevents the sow from backing out.
The gate is designed to operated with only one hand allowing the technician to carry a preg-checker or AI equipment in the other.
Watch a short Video of the saloon doors
European concrete slats tend to have less open area than slats in the U.S. due to welfare regulations. Stainless steel legs rotate to allow placement of an anchor in a slat opening. A set bolt is tightened to secure the leg to the stall side. Three top and four front bars attached to the stall sides with clamps, making it easier to get a straight installation without drilling or welding.
The stainless steel feed trough will outlast composite or concrete troughs. Because sows can lie with their heads under the raised trough, the overall length can be reduced to 1.8 meters and still meet EU regulations requiring a stall to be 2 meters long.
A typical pen layout will have farrowing stalls facing out against the room walls with only a center alleyway.
The combination feed and water trough is raised to allow the sow more effective stall length. Many producers choose to install the SowMAX (read more…..) and fill with an automatic auger or chain disk system as hand feeding is difficult without a front feeding alley.
To load the crates the rear creep panel is opened, the rear gate unfastened and the movable side panel is slid to its open position. After the sow moves into stall, the operator adjusts the movable side to the size of the sow and selects one of the holes in the rear gate to hold it in place. The operator then adjusts the bottom bow bar for large or small sows. The bow bars also include anti-crushing bars to reduce pig mortality.
Hog Slat displayed its plastic flooring and with interlocking cast center sections for farrowing. Optional types of flooring sections, including red heating sections, allow producers to design a custom floor. Creep areas are larger than typically used in the U.S. The EuroTier floor measured 1.8 meters (5.9′) wide by 2.4 meters (7.87′) long.
Hog Slat also featured traditional style European penning with PVC planking on the bottom and galvanized pipes fastened to formed stainless steel posts. Notice the plastic fasteners at the end of the pipes, after the pipes are cut to length the plastic ends are forced onto the pipe and bolted into place. U.S. style horizontal penning is also finding some favor with some European producers as it is more cost effective and allows for better ventilation.
Going forward, you will see a constant blend of American and European concepts reflected in the equipment Hog Slat builds for Europe. Hog Slat’s manufacturing, sourcing and distribution expertise will lower the final cost to the producers without sacrificing quality.
U.S. concepts in ventilation (tunnel), feeding (SowMAX), and finishing equipment (open horizontal penning) will gain acceptance with European producers looking for maximum efficiencies in producing pork.
In an earlier blog post we reported the interest shown in the SowMax (see more….) at this year’s EuroTier. Shown is German sales rep Ulf Maroske as he explains features and benefits to a customer at the show. We later received this email from Ulf concerning a customer who purchased 20 International farrowing crates and 50 SowMAX dispensers to fit on existing crates this October.
“When visited my customer last week the piglets were 14 days old. He placed the sows with the highest piglet losses in the last farrowing in the Hog Slat International crates. He told me had piglet losses of .6 per sow in the new crates compared to 1 piglet per sow in the old crates. This is nice result.”
“When I asked him how satisfied he is with our SowMAX he gave me the short answer. Today he regrets that he installed 50 of them…if he had know the SowMAX worked so well he would have equipped all 90 farrowing crates with them.”
“Compared to his other feeding system he has significantly less feed wastage. Now the sows eat more, the amount is 10kg (22 lbs.), that was not possible before. The sows are much quieter during feeding time”
For a farm seeking a premium laying nest, Farmstead nests could be the perfect solution. The Farmstead nest provides hens with sufficient space to lay high-quality eggs, promote optimal hygiene, and above all are user-friendly and durable.
Farmstead nests are constructed of rugged galvanized steel that bolts together for strength, versus nests that are pop riveted. All edges are rolled to prevent injury to the birds, and divider partitions have ventilation holes to allow for air circulation around the hens to keep them cooler.
“We recently built a barn for our chickens and had tried a few different nesting options. We had tried utilizing plastic bins and other nesting systems, but unfortunately none of these options were agreeing with our chickens. We decided to try the Farmstead nests and have been happy with this system. Our chickens adjusted well and are comfortable with this nesting option. We also have some ducks in our operation and they too have been utilizing the nesting boxes.” Pamela – Blanding, UT
“I like how stable the nests are because the chickens are not going to be able to knock it over.” Pamela – Blanding, UT
“I like that it bolts together easily and is made of galvanized material so that it won’t rust.” Casey – Paragould, AR
Suited to fit farms of all sizes, nests are available in 10-hole, 10-hole rollout, and a 4-hole nest. Assembled dimensions of the 10-hole are 34.5” high x 60” long, while assembled dimensions of the 4-hold are 34.5” high x 24” long.
“They provide a larger area for chickens, allowing them greater mobility.” Terry – Virginia, IL
In addition to animal comfort, it is important to note the nest’s user-friendly features. Designed for easy maintenance, nest bottoms are removable to make cleaning and litter replacement effortless. Nests feature hinged perches that flip up to aid egg gathering. The tops of the nests are designed with a steep slope to prevent roosting. In addition, nests can be elevated off of the ground and mounted onto a wall.
“I like the way the bottoms of the nests lift out, allowing the nests to be fairly easy to clean.” Lorena – Hillsboro, OR
“They are easy to clean. I use wood shavings for the bedding and clean out the nests once a week.” Pamela – Blanding, UT
“I like the fact that you can close the boxes at night so that they don’t allow the hens to roost in them.” John – Palermo, CA
For anyone looking into the Farmstead nests, here is what some users have to say.
“I like everything about it. The nests were easy to assemble; we were able to assemble it within an hour.” Terry – Virginia, IL
“This product provides great value for the money.” Lorena – Hillsboro, OR
“I have found nothing wrong with this product and would purchase it again.” John – Palermo, CA
Over the holidays I had a chance to check on a roof repair project Vanberg Coatings applied in June of 2012.
The building was erected in 1968 and the roof metal was basically sound but showing rust.
Vanberg’s exterior metal coating product, AMC-100 or Aluminum Moisture Cure Urethane, was applied. The results looked great then…..and the roof still looks great today…..over 2 years later. For more on Vanberg Metal Coating products, click here.
Producers, industry leaders, and hundreds of agri-businesses have gathered this week in Des Moines, IA for the 43rd annual Iowa Pork Congress. Held at the Iowa Events Center, the Iowa Pork Congress kicked off on Wednesday, January 28th and will go through Thursday, January 29th.
This two-day conference attracts over 5,000 producers and industry specialists from not only Iowa, but across the Midwest – leading to a well-attended tradeshow and conference.
New video showing how to mix and apply Con-Korite. Con-Korite is our best selling product for repairing severely worn and damaged slats. Featuring Pure Concrete technology, it simply lasts longer than other repair mortars. It comes as a complete kit (Con-Korite Xtra Mortar Kit) or as a 55 lb. pail ( Con-Korite). Pick one up at your local Hog Slat store or order online at www.hogslat.com