Increasing profitability of pork production
Inter-Agri, an agricultural farm owned by Janusz and Bartosz Wojtczak, is a perfect example of long-term successful cooperation with PIC. The first PIC gilts arrived to Janusz’s farm (which was rather small at the time) nearly 20 years ago. That investment in 60 gilts now seems nothing out of the ordinary, but at that time it was a considerable venture, and PIC gilts were a novelty on the market, which added to the uncertainty. In retrospect, it can be concluded with complete confidence that the risk has paid off. Today, Janusz and Bartosz’s family farm houses a total of 2,400 PIC sows kept on three maternal farms, and employs 20 people. Its main area of activity is the production of commodity piglets for further fattening. Inter-Agri is one of the leading and largest piglet producers in Poland, with annual sales of approx. 50 thousand head of pigs weighing 20 kg. “All farms are computerised and connected to the Internet. Tools such as PICtraq make work easier and much more precise. We are up to date with what is going on at our farms. The data originating from farms provide basis for further production planning” – says Janusz Wojtczak.
Another branch of animal production on Janusz and Bartosz’s farms is multiplication of breeding material, both gilts and young boars, for PIC. Annually, Inter-Agri produces approx. 3 thousand head of selected, high-quality Camborough gilts, and sells approx. 300 head of PIC337 and PIC410 breeding boars for both artificial insemination and natural mating. The production of Camborough breeding gilts is based on GGP 1020 L03 sows, 300 head of which the company purchased in 2013 from Podelzig in Germany. All gilts are indexed so that the best ones can be selected on a weekly basis based on the data from PICtraq. Thanks to the use of those tools, the production results of the herd have significantly improved, while production costs, in particular feed consumption costs, have dropped. At the moment, the amount of feed per sow per annum is no more than 1,050 kg.
In connection with the development of this production branch, the company needed a place in which it could rear gilts weighing up to 100 kg, and young boars weighing up to 130-150 kg. Hence, in late 2012, a decision was made to purchase Gola, a farm with two buildings which, when adapted, can house up to 2 thousand head of swine. Young gilts and boars are reared to a weight of approx. 30 kg on maternal farms, and are then transferred to a fattening house at Gola, where they reach the target weight and are shipped to the best producers throughout Poland and abroad, e.g. to France or Lithuania. Gola farm is a perfect place for rearing gilts and young boars. Due to the beneficial conditions prevailing on the farm, the animals exhibit excellent survival parameters. In addition, thanks to the recent investment in the recovery of heat from slurry, virtually cost-free heating of livestock and amenity buildings is now possible, which provides even better conditions for the animals, particularly in the autumn and winter. Cheap heating of buildings also allows for housing smaller animals during the winter without worrying about their condition.
The technology of heating buildings with heat originating from slurry has been developed by Pellon, and was only implemented on the farm at the beginning of March this year. This is the first project of this type in Poland; so far, this technology has been applied in Scandinavian countries. For the time being, both farm personnel and the owners are satisfied with the project. The use of energy from slurry channels provides the farm with significant benefits as compared with oil heating. What is more, a heating system using a heat pump improves both the living conditions of the swine and working conditions of the personnel. A heat pump can also be used for cooling slurry channels, which significantly reduces the amount of ammonia in the air. Cooling the slurry reduces the odour in the air in the livestock building by approx. a third. A heat pump uses renewable energy from slurry channels. The heat generated by these sources remains relatively stable throughout the year, and can be increased thanks to the heat pump technology. Savings result from the fact that the ratio of energy consumed to energy generated is from 1:2 – 4.
As previously observed, proper extra heating of buildings leads to lower consumption of feed, and therefore increases profitability. Average consumption of feed per kilogram of gain in the fattening of young boars in Gola amounts to 2.35 kg, while for gilts it amounts to 2.5 kg. Due to the use of PIC genetics and proper conditions in the building, young boars and gilts achieve outstanding production results, which largely translates into the company’s profit. This is particularly essential in periods difficult to swine producers. “It is a well-known fact that the main cost of swine production is the feed. Thanks to above-average feed consumption indices, the farm is profitable even in hard times, and this is why I consider the feed conversion parameter, which is often underestimated by breeders, to be so important in the production,” says Janusz Wojtczak.
Heating equipment and the system of pipes embedded in the heat accumulation circuit re-circulates the liquid which binds heat energy. With the use of a compressor, the temperature of the liquid is increased to above 100 degrees, and then the heat is transferred to a hot water tank through a heat exchanger. The accumulated energy may be used for heating rooms, drinking water or water for room washing.
In April 2015, the distribution of PIC breeding material changed in Poland. PIC Polska entered in collaboration with Artimeet, a company owned by Janusz and Bartosz Wojtczak, and entrusted it with distribution activities. Since then, Artimeet has been the sole distributor of PIC breeding material in Poland. As Bartosz Wojtczak explains: “This is another step in the long-term close cooperation between PIC Polska and our company. The breeding material of the sire line originates exclusively from our farms, while as regards the dam line, we also make use of other, external herds proliferating gilts in order to fully meet the expectations of the market. For us, this is yet another challenge, but we intend to develop fast also in this area,” he adds.
Janusz and Bartosz Wojtczak have great ambitions as regards the development of their farms: “We are planning to build a biogas plant next to the largest farm, whose main substrate would be slurry from that farm, and the heat generated in the biogas plant would be returned to the farm in order to heat it in the winter or cool the building during hot summer periods. We already have a building permit, and now we are contemplating the selection of technology and the main contractor” says Janusz Wojtczak.
The owners would also like to build another farm for 750 sows. “Preliminary plans are already underway. The new barn would be located right next to our largest farm, in a complex along with the planned biogas plant,” says Bartosz Wojtczak. Implementation of this project would allow Inter-Agri to produce and sell approx. 20 thousand head of piglets a year more than it is selling now.