Just nine months after the first inseminations were initiated on a new Russian pig farm, the production had already reached 28 weaned pigs per sow annually. This is evident from the latest production records of the Russian-owned pig farm, Shojbulaksky, close to Yoshkar-Ola — the capital of the Mari El Republic.

No wonder that the pig farm manager Christian Damgaard Sørensen and the key account manager Henrik Nielsen are satisfied. The two managers from the company Danish Farm Design A/S provide the training and management programme for the farm staff. Thus, they assist the Russian owner Magomed Abdullayevich in starting the pig production and getting it on track.

The pig farm itself is a greenfield 1,200 sow farrow-to-finish unit. A local company has been responsible for all the construction work while the Danish companies Skiold and AP-Company have delivered the technology for the pig unit and the feed mill. Animals are Danish Large White–Landrace crossbreds, which were delivered in February 2008. Shortly after, the first gilts were inseminated.

Keeping it Simple

The key component that ties all farm factors together is management at the Shojbulaksky pig farm. Management of the farm is a team effort involving local Russian staff and Danish management, nutrition and technology experts. Starting up a new pig farm is always a challenge and even more so when this is done with staff that has no previous experience with modern pig production. Different languages and cultures are other challenges that must be overcome in a multi-ethnic team.

The management approach taken by Danish Farm Design is to do things "by the book" and "keeping it simple." At present the production efficiency at Shojbulaksky is probably among the highest in Russia. Management is the key factor that ties everything together.

The collaboration between Sørensen and the second opinion provided by Nielsen during monthly visits, e-mails and online support has proven to be a very effective and essential method for keeping focus on the most important issues in the production. Dansk Vilomix A/S is part of the collaboration between the posted Danish Farm Design pig farm managers, Danish veterinary consultant Karsten V. Dalby, who visits the farm every two to three months, and the Shojbulaksky manager.


Although all components required for a high production output are present, such as high-quality genetics, state-of-the-art housing and technology, high health and optimal nutrition, there is no guarantee for success in pig production.

The key account manager is always well-informed about the situation in the farm organisation and about production issues. This makes his support very effective in terms of solving the major challenges in production.

Traditional farm layout

The pig farm comprises a traditional layout with a quarantine unit, sow stalls in mating and gestation, a boar unit for AI and farrowing crates with partially slatted flooring. A central corridor connects all units. Piglets are weaned at four weeks of age and moved to one of nine weaner compartments comprising floor-heated, two-climate pens with partially slatted flooring. The finisher sections, 16 in total, have fully slatted pens and pigs are delivered to the slaughterhouse when they weigh 115-120kg. All pigs are slaughtered at Yola Meat Plant, which is owned by the company that owns the farm.

Feed 60% of cost

Feed is produced from home-grown cereals such as wheat and barley while soya constitutes the main protein source. Feed cost makes up about 60% of the cost of producing a pig, so it is an important part of pig production. This is of great concern at Shojbulaksky and from the very beginning Dansk Vilomix has been supplying the mineral and vitamin premixes, formulating the feed at optimal levels and, therefore, guaranteeing balanced ratios for all groups of pigs. In this way the genetic potential of the pigs are utilised at its best.

During the first nine months Shojbulaksky developed good skills in evaluating the raw material quality and managers make no compromises when purchasing protein and other feed resources like soya bean meal and fish meal.