After intensive research at the HyCare experimental farm, the research team carried out a pilot at four pig farms where De Heus supplies the feed. The companies were converted to the HyCare system with all associated adjustments and measures. The historical data were known, and the results had to be measurable. Piglets had the same (genetic) origin in all rounds during the experiment.
"After the switch to the HyCare method, our veterinarian soon found a lower infection pressure and an improvement in animal health, by taking blood, manure, and saliva samples," says Henk van Kuyk, sector director of the Pig Department at De Heus. "If animals are healthy, the feed intake will increase and therefore also the growth. The feed conversion ratio decreased.” A possibility arose to achieve lower feed costs, so they adjusted the feed strategy at two of the four farms. "Because there were fewer germs present and the pigs ate more, we were able to omit many unnecessary, luxury additives in the feed. As a result, we saw that the feed costs per pig decreased even further. The mortality rate was also lower every round.”
The two companies with feed adjustment scored best on returns: around six to seven euros per pig. On farms with only the change to HyCare, they achieved an output of approximately four euros per pig. Of course, the HyCare system also entails some costs. All in all, an adjustment to Hycare, in combination with a new feeding strategy, can, therefore, deliver a return of three to four euros per pig. So the possible increase in feed efficiency is seven to fifteen percent.
Mart Smolders, HyCare director, is happy to collaborate with De Heus: "Of course, De Heus has a great deal of expertise in nutrition, which proved necessary for this pilot. Also, it was great that De Heus, as an independent party, wanted to research the HyCare method and generate reliable insights for all parties. "Henk van Kuyk was also satisfied with the progress of the pilot: "For us, the research is valuable because it was executed in practice. Thanks to this pilot, we have been able to share the gained knowledge with our specialists. They can advise customers who are starting with HyCare better and more effectively."
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