The Tempo Contributes to Labour Efficiency and Easy Production
Running a farm with sows, finishers, and an arable enterprise with limited labour can be difficult. The robustness of the Tempo makes it possible to produce pigs problem-free and without health problems, leading to efficient and easy production. The two Weijs brothers run their sow, finisher, and arable farm themselves. Operating a farm of this size with a limited labor force requires problem-free and easy production. Pigs that overcome disturbances without trouble or delay are essential. The Tempo does this with its robustness and contributes to efficient, problem-free, high production in one of Europe’s most pig dense regions.
Effect from day one
The positive effect of Tempo can already be seen in the farrowing house. “They are strong, robust piglets from the day they are born. And their inborn appetite is something we use by starting to feed them a milk-based feed from the second day after birth. We gradually replace the milk-based feed with piglet feed in 2 weeks’ time.” Jos Weijs explains. This appetite shows, as feeders are almost empty a few hours after they are filled.
Jos Weijs: “We do not need any expensive fancy special feeds, just the standard feed from our feed supplier.” The weaning also goes problem-free with this standard feed. There are no disturbances or health issues, the Tempo pigs just keep on eating.
When the pigs are transported to the finisher sheds, no problems occur. Again, feed intake is not affected, just as during the feed changes during the finisher period itself. Feed intake is high during the finisher period, near to ad libitum. Combined with the robustness, that makes it possible to use feed that is £0.04 per kilo growth lower than the Dutch average.
No health problems in high-density pig region
Health is not an issue at the Weijs farm, this is another strong point of the Tempo. The farm units of the Weijs brothers are in the southeast of the Netherlands, which is one of the most pig-dense regions of Europe. Big modern pig farms surround the farm. In almost every direction, you see other production units just several hundred meters away.
The farm has a conventional health status and does not require any special measures, besides the normal biosecurity protocols. They transport the piglets with their own transport, and they avoid mixing piglets when they go to the finisher farm. The only vaccination the pigs get is against Circo (PCVAD) and the only real health problems that rarely occur are related to streptococci.
The health and robustness of the finishers are not only apparent from their low mortality but the health costs are also low. Almost no antibiotics are used, only in a rare PIA outbreak or when an individual pig has a leg infection does anything get used. This leads to £0.22 in health costs per marketed pig. The Dutch average is over three times higher.
High piglet quality brings success in finishing
The problem-free production in the finisher phase has its foundation in the farrowing and piglet rearing. René Weijs: “If you can start with a good quality young finisher, you know that you have a good start in production. In that way, the robustness of the Tempo offspring in early life can also be seen in finishing.”
The Weijs brothers see the Tempo as an important element in being able to run their business efficiently with a low labour requirement. “With just a bit of extra help, we can run our farm together. The Tempo makes it possible to do our work easily and just as important in a rewarding and enjoyable way.”
In the summer of 2019, a new weather record for the Netherlands was set. For the first time ever, the temperature reached more than 40 Celsius. In a country where normal heatwaves go to a maximum of 35 Celsius, this effect of global warming gave pig farmers new challenges, as sheds and ventilation are not designed for these high temperatures. René Weijs: ”We had our problems, but looking back the Tempo finishers coped with it well. Growth was not affected as much as I hear from other farmers with other genetics. Feed intake was not affected much either.”
Brothers Jos and René Weijs in Castenray (South-East Netherlands) run a farm with 750 Topigs Norsvin sows, 3300 finisher places, and 40 hectares of land. They transport gilts to the farm and piglets between the locations. They also transport piglets to third parties who buy a part of the production. They manage to do all this with the help of a part-time employee (20 hours/week) in the farrowing shed. The father of the two also helps for a few hours per week. The sows wean 32.2 piglets per year, liveborn per litter is 16 and mortality until weaning is 13%. The finishers have a feed conversion rate of 2.32, feed costs per kg growth is £0.54. Daily gain is 813 grams and mortality is 3.5%. Slaughter data: meat percentage 59.4% with 66 mm loin depth and 13.5 mm back fat.