Houstrupgaard in Tårs in the north of Denmark is a three-generation family farm with 1000 sows and finishers. It also has 250 hectares of arable land. A total of seven people work on the farm. With the recent expansion of the farm from 650 to 1000 sows, Jesper Budolfsen decided to go for TN70 sows of Topigs Norsvin.
A young generation in Denmark sees things differently. Jesper Budolfsen is one of them. They no longer solely focus on a high number of liveborn piglets or a high number of weaned piglets. They take the entire economy of the farm into account, including housing costs and other investments. Also, they see that people want to have a life beyond working on a pig farm, so labor satisfaction and low labor input are important. They also see growing consumer demands for a more sustainable production.
More sows with TN70
Jesper first experienced the TN70 when working on a farm in Norway. “The growth of the piglets, the birth weight, and the weaning weight surprised me.” Together with the good mothering abilities and the easy handling of the sows, this left him with a very good impression.
Back home in Denmark, he started to calculate how to set up the expansion of the family farm to 1000 sows. He compared Danbred with TN70 and came to the conclusion that all things being considered, the TN70 was the better choice for him. “Investments in farrowing pens were lower, and we needed less of them. And we needed fewer investments in artificial piglet rearing.”
“Also, the lower labor input works positively for us. Sows can take care of their piglets without help. For example, we only uniform litters once. Just after they are born. After that, the sows take care of the pigs and no help or artificial rearing is needed.” Furthermore, the robustness and higher birth weight of the pigs mean less labor is needed as fewer treatments are required, and health is higher.
This all makes the TN70 more economic for the Budolfsen family. “I calculated that in our situation, the TN70 makes that we could grow to 1000 sows with the same investments and labor input compared to 850 sows with Danbred.”
Sow keeps producing milk
First experiences show that the TN70 performs well. “We currently aim for 16.5 pigs born per litter and over 14.5 weaned per sow. The TN70 are still in their first litters, and the end of the building activities did not help them to perform at the top of their capacities. But I am convinced we will reach our goals.”
One thing that really is different is the TN70’s milk production. They keep on producing milk. “We are used to sows kind of switching teats when they lose too much weight and reduce milk production in that way. The TN70 goes on. Therefore we have to adapt feeding to this so that the body condition stays good.”
Highest total economy
It is too early to evaluate the results in the finisher barn. “I expect the same results as in the past.” Jesper expects the TN70 will give the highest total economy from the family farm. And that is not about the highest piglet production but the highest profit and a smooth and easy production. “We need to look more carefully at what is needed to produce one pig. Its cost price can be higher on a farm with a production of 38 piglets per year than on a farm of 33. It is also important to realize that skilled barn workers are getting rare and in future, they do not want to work on a farm that works from five in the morning until nine at night in two shifts to achieve those extremely high piglet productions.”