Several exhibitors in the pig section at SPACE 2012 in Rennes, France, held September 11–14, said they were “pleasantly surprised by the positive response” they were receiving from visitors to the show, and that energy efficiency seems to be a key point of interest.

Large crowds of producers thronged the aisles of the pig sector halls on September 13, with many stopping to look more closely at the array of different products on display. “Business is good,” said a spokeswoman for Dutch bio-energy installation company HoSt Bio-Energy, a first-time exhibitor at the event. “We are finding there is a lot of interest among the pig producers here in our small farm-scale anaerobic digesters, which can produce electricity and heat for their businesses. “I think an increasing number of French pig producers are realizing that they need to take action to control and cut their energy costs, as well as find new, less expensive ways to deal with their waste products, especially slurry.”

Advertisement

Charlotte Højgrav-Huus Skjold, sales manager at VengSystem, a Danish supplier of ventilation technology, said she is seeing the same thing. “Pig producers here seem surprisingly positive about the future, with much more focus on saving energy wherever possible," said Skjold. "I feel things are definitely changing." In addition to France, she said that VengSystem is looking at new markets in Asia. It already exports its systems, which provide controlled temperatures for sows and piglets and, she said, help reduce ammonia emissions. The company exports to Canada, the UK, Ireland, Norway and other EU countries.

While some observers at the show said they think production will fall during the first few months of 2013, they are all confident it will bounce back as producers adapt to the new EU welfare regulations, which come into force on January 1, 2013, and the prices for pigs rise. Shi-Heung Park, president of InterHeat, which specializes in supplying heating lamps for pig houses, also said he feels business has been good in France in 2012, and he has confidence about the future. “People must eat,” he said.