Built with consideration for the animal, the worker, and the environment

The new Delta Norway is a high-tech test and innovation center that has also been built with high animal welfare, perfect working conditions for workers, and a low impact on the environment in mind. Learn more with this quick tour through Delta Norway.

By Kristoffer Øibakken, technical advisor and project manager and Marte H. Evju, communication advisor

By mid-June, construction work at Delta Norway will have been finalized and the keys to the facility will be handed over. Delta Norway is located in the mountainous landscape north of Løten municipality, about 100 km north of Oslo.

The location was chosen based on several biosecurity requirements, including distance to other livestock holdings. The site and the surrounding area are regulated, and there are several restrictions for other traffic and activities that can be established within various distance requirements (500-meter radius).

The forest around the site acts as a natural air filter, and this, combined with distance restrictions to other activities, means that there is no need to filter air into the facility.

A 2-meter high and 600-meter long, wild boar-proof fence has been erected around the entire test station. The fence is buried 0.5 meters under the ground, and the minimum distance from the fence to the building will be 10 meters.

Recycled wind turbines

Delta Norway has 11 test departments, with 12 pens in each department. Each pen will house 12 boars. The panels used for the pens are made of fiberglass from recycled wind turbine blades. This is a very durable material, which is quite unique for livestock. The pens have FIRE feeding stations for individual feed intake and weighing.

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Delta Norway is equipped with FIRE feeding stations for individual recording of feed intake. Panels are made of recycled wind turbine blades.

Delta Norway has a system for automatic bedding allocation, which helps maintain a consistent amount of bedding in all pens at all times. The automatic bedding system is designed for both wood chips and/or chopped straw or hay. Above each pen are valves with shutters, which open automatically when the right amount of bedding has accumulated in the pipe channels.

This automatic system will also be used for rooting materials like chopped straw or hay. A sufficient amount of material for pigs to investigate, root in, and engage with is mandatory under Norwegian legislation.

The floor and walls are made of concrete from Norway. The decision to use concrete was made in view of the low maintenance requirements of a concrete building, which makes it an environmentally friendly choice of material. Furthermore, concrete is energy-efficient in terms of a high heat storage capacity, and it can also be recycled.

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A system for automatic bedding allocation, which helps maintain a consistent amount of bedding in all pens at all times.

The roof structure is made of wood sourced from the local timber trade and consists of 180 roof trusses. The entire roof structure contains 47,686 meters of timber/planks.

Manure removal

The pens are designed according to Norwegian regulations and consist of 12.5 m2 solid area and 6.5 m2 slatted area, totaling 19 m2. Under the slatted pen area, there is a 70 cm deep manure channel. Manure is removed on a regular basis. The construction with partly slatted floors and manure removal contributes to lower emissions of ammonia and other greenhouse gases. This reduces the operation’s environmental impact, creates a better working environment for staff and improves animal welfare.

The manure is pumped into two roofed manure pits with a total capacity of 5,000 m3. The storage capacity is 12 months, which reduces the number of manure transports from the facility and ensures that manure is only spread in season. The roofs reduce emissions and prevent rain and snow from becoming mixed with the manure.

Heated and cooled by Mother Earth

Geothermal energy is used to heat and cool the building. Heating is provided using water-to-water heat pumps that extract energy from 300-meter-deep borehole wells. All floor surfaces in the building have water-based heating, and all rooms with pigs have ribbed pipes that heat up the incoming air.

Geothermal energy is also used to ensure accessibility to the barn through heated outdoor concrete platforms at all gates. This is important because Delta Norway is located in a snow-rich area.

Water-based heating in the floor area combined with over-sprinkling of water on slatted areas ensure the pigs naturally choose to defecate and urinate on the slats, which therefore means the lying area is kept as dry as possible. This reduces the labor needed (less scraping) and the use of bedding.

Cooling required in the CT room and the technical (server) room will be provided with water from the wells used for heating.

During the construction process, provisions were made for a future solar panel system.

Local material and safe working

In all phases of the construction project, there has been an emphasis on the use of locally sourced materials and personnel. With the exception of pen fiberglass panels, some ventilation and feeding equipment, Danish carpenters and concrete elements from central Norway, all input factors have been locally sourced.

Furthermore, the new Delta Norway has some automated solutions that make the workday for employees as varied as possible and with a minimal risk of physical injury. This includes the previously mentioned automatic bedding allocation as well as a focus on efficient and safe logistics in the animal rooms.

New test and innovation center Delta Norway 

A new high-tech test and innovation center will open this year in Norway. Delta Norway has an annual test capacity of 5,000 young boars from the Norsvin Landrace and TN Duroc lines.  

New technical solutions and infrastructure for large-scale data capture will significantly boost our genetic program. Besides individual feed intake registration and performance measurements, the extensive use of sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence will make it possible to track pigs continuously and register fluctuations in their environment and behavior.  

The construction of Delta Norway will be completed in June 2024. The plan is to receive the first animals in July 2024.  

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