A new concept detailing how pig farms could look and operate in the future is attracting more than 20,000 visitors a day at the 2012 EuroTier livestock production show in Hanover, Germany.

Designed and staged by Big Dutchman, the fully automated futuristic display includes a revolving system that checks if the sows are pregnant and separates those that are not, leading them directly to a special insemination area. There are also special waiting areas, meeting areas, farrowing pens, exercise areas and rearing-finishing areas in a system that is designed to meet future environmental and health regulations, as well as consumer demands for pig welfare.

“The main idea behind this vision for the future is that the animals are free all the time from farrowing through to finishing, and it allows people to see how the animals are treated through all the production stages,” said Project Manager Daniel Holling. The concept includes a number of revolutionary ideas, some of which are already on their way to the market, some of which are still going through trials and even some that might never actually meet market requirements. Some of those ideas include a dry feeding system, an automatic manure scraper and special systems to collect a range of different statistics and other data.

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“We wanted to show people that Big Dutchman is thinking ahead and provide them with an idea of what the future might look like,” said Holling. He said that the system had already been through a series of promising practical trials on a small pig farm (with 60 sows) in north Germany, which showed that everything worked properly, although he said he expected it would be some time before it was all commercially available. “The ultimate goal is a professional and profitable pig management system, without restriction for the pigs,” he said. “We hope this pig house of the future will provide people with a practical basis for discussion and encourage producers to get more actively involved in the further development of livestock farming.”

Holling said he was sure the company would get a lot of feedback from many of the people who had been through the huge, walk-in working display at EuroTier.