Introducing: Anouk van Spronsen
Since early March, I have worked at Vereijken Hooijer BV as Product Manager Farrowing Systems. It is my goal to make sure that our farrowing systems work properly, for pigs and pig farmers alike!
Although I don’t have an agricultural background, I have been fascinated by big animals in the agricultural sector from a young age. Eventually pigs became my specialty, in particular the effects of house design and management on their wellbeing. For my graduation thesis, for example, I examined how much space pigs needed for interaction; as in a play area and a place to eat, fight and sleep. There is certainly plenty of knowledge around, but no real clear overview of what other pig farmers are doing.
Sharing practical experiences
One example is loose housing farrowing system, a concept that is still surrounded by uncertainty in this sector. It goes without saying that pig farmers don’t want their sows to lie on the piglets. Does that mean you have to restrain sows during farrowing? And for how long? You could also opt for a farrowing crate with an extra feeder. But where is the most suitable place to put the feeder? Are the piglets actually able to locate it? What if it is kicked over? And what about soiling in the feeder? A lot of time is wasted if pig farmers have to reinvent the wheel every time. Sharing practical experiences can be to the benefit of many pig farmers. Experiences will vary, of course, but it’s good to discuss these issues and come up with new ideas. Eventually this will be reflected in the production figures.
Digital interactive knowledge platform
I want to do my part in gathering and digitising the current knowledge on farrowing systems, as well as supplement this knowledge with insights from new research. This knowledge should be made available to pig farmers and others working with pigs, so that all the information is accessible and usable in a single overview. New input can easily be supplemented, creating a dynamically growing knowledge platform with input from others and shared pig farmers’ experiences. Active participation will be open to all on this digital interactive platform, with input welcome in the form of blogs, online seminars, discussion forums and, of course, an app with access to all the updates.
If you have ideas for this knowledge platform or insights to make farrowing work more effectively, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing about your experiences!