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Empty pig stomach saves feed costs

Published on 23 February, 2007, Last updated at 14:33 GMT


The Dutch food group of Vion has recommended to farmers to sell their pigs with an empty stomach.

Every week, the company's slaughterhouses are disposing 500 tonnes undigested feed, coming from the intestines of the pigs, costing around Euros: 650,000 annually. On average, a carcass contains 3 to 3.5 kilogrammes of undigested feed.

Besides the costs involved, the risk of bacterial contamination increases when undigested feed is in contact with the carcass.

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 slaughterweight 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 Euros: 0.18 per kilo dry matter, it will cost the farmer Euros: 0.28 per sold pig. This way, a farmer who sells 5,000 pigs annually, could save around Euros: 1,400.

In some of the company's 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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