News 179 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Empty pig stomach saves feed costs

Every week, the pig slaughterhouses of Vion in the Netherlands are disposing 500 tonnes undigested feed, coming from the intestines of the pigs. The disposal costs of this feed are around €650,000 annually.

On average, a carcass contains 3 to 3.5 kilos of undigested feed. Besides the costs involved, the risk of bacterial contamination increases when undigested feed is in contact with the carcass. Vion therefore recommends that farmers sell their pigs with an empty stomach.

Saving feed costs
This also lowers the feed costs for the farmer, says Maartien Kusters, managing director operations at the Fresh Meat division from Vion. The feed is not converted into meat anymore and we therefore recommend to stop feeding pigs 12 to 16 hours before they are transported to the abattoir. To give an example: A pig with a slaughter weight of 91 kilos that was brought in with an empty stomach is around 4.4 kilos heavier than a pig that is fed till the end of his life. When the dry matter percentage from the stomach and intestines is 35%, normally around 1.5 kilos dry matter is lost. At a feed price of € 0.18 per kilo dry matter, it will cost the farmer €0.28 per sold pig. By not feeding the pigs prior to slaughtering, a farmer who sells 5000 pig annually, could save around €1400.

In some Vion slaughterhouses a pilot is currently running, in which farmers receive an overview of the weight of the contents of the intestines.

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