Multifunctional animal welfare pig house with Spotmix, Compident and Strohmatic

Schmitz family business in the canton of Bern, Switzerland

Modern IP-Suisse Animal Welfare Label sow stall with Spotmix as a multifunctional tool for feeding and bedding - INQUIRY NOW!

Farm report of the Schmitz family, Untersteckholz in the canton of Bern, Switzerland

Peter Schmitz runs a mixed farm with dairy cattle (60 cows) and a sow farm with a total of 600 sows at 2 locations and 50 ha of agricultural land. In close cooperation with the Schauer Agrotronic branch in Schötz, he has perfected the feeding and straw bedding processes in recent years. Let yourself be impressed by the multifunctional application possibilities of the Spotmix feeding system in combination with the Compident electronic sow feeding and the Strohmatic bedding system.

Spotmix Multiphase feeding and Welfare for straw distribution are the multifunctional key elements of particularly animal and environment-friendly pig production!

Peter Schmitz uses a Spotmix multiphase feeding system for the entire sow operation in the mating and waiting area. In the mating area, a total of 10 different individual primary feeds and 6 small-quantity components are mixed together into 8 different recipes and distributed to the respective barn units according to need. Maize grain silage is also used as an inexpensive and valuable feed component. In order to be able to feed this to the pregnant sows via the Compident electronic sow feeding system, a particular dosing container was developed. The individual feed components are used in "crumbly form" (lightly pressed, expanded feed). Important in the feed composition is not only the daily adjustment of the energy/crude protein ratio, but also the maintenance of the feed structure.

In addition, the Spotmix system is also used via the so-called Welfare option to pneumatically distribute the chopped and dedusted straw with a structure length of 6 cm on average, which is prepared by the Strohmatic system, to the different barn areas. This is done in the farrowing house to offer the piglets and sows straw for occupation and nest building, as well as in the piglet rearing house. The clean, dust-free straw not only serves the animals' well-being by providing employment opportunities, but is also readily eaten and thus makes a significant contribution to the raw fibre intake and thus to the health of the animals.

Farm overview:

  • 600 productive sows in the mating and waiting area at 2 locations of 300 sows each, 6 weekly groups of 40 sows each in large dynamic groups at 6 Compident call feeding stations. 
  • Primera remount sows are bought in. 
  • Pig production according to IP-Suisse label (2.6 m2 space, free range, free farrowing, multi-phase feeding and straw bedding).
  • Piglet production based on division of labour: Only 1 farrowing group is on the farm, all others are sold to 8 farrowing partner farms. The sows are bought back after weaning. The suckling period is 28 days. 
  • In addition, 300 own fattening places on the parent farm and on a leased farm in the immediate vicinity. 
  • 60 dairy cows and offspring, seasonal calving. Grazing in summer. Production of a milk label programme, the so-called "meadow milk" (hay milk programme).
  • 50 hectares of agricultural land, of which 15 hectares are arable, 35 hectares grassland.

Strohmatic bedding system - for central straw preparation, shredding, dust removal and transport to the covering and maintenance barn.

A large bale breaker loosens the straw square bales and conveys the loose straw to a straw chopper. Here, the structure of the chopped straw can be adjusted according to the desired sieve length. At the same time, when the straw is transferred either to the mechanical pulley conveyor system or to the Welfare metering bin, the straw is 80 % dedusted. According to Peter Schmitz, "the dedusted straw, which is on average 6 cm long, has a very good structure and is healthy for the pigs. They eat it very gladly and occupy themselves with it. In this way, animal welfare is actively and impressively improved." "Where the large quantities are needed, such as for bedding the lying bunks in the covering and waiting barns, the straw is distributed via the Strohmatic pulley conveyor system; in the piglet rearing and farrowing barns, the straw is distributed pneumatically via the Spotmix Welfare," explains Peter Schmitz. 

In the second holding area where the sows spend the last 6 weeks before farrowing, the sows are also kept in large groups at Compident call feeding stations. A special highlight here is that 70 % of the ration is fed maize silage (whole plant silage). The high crude fibre content leads to complete saturation of the sows without driving up the energy content, which results in optimal condition with simultaneous quietness in the barn, which is hardly ever found in a sow barn. To the sow farmer's delight, this is reflected in a particularly low turnover rate. 

The maize silage is transported via a Harvestor silo and a removal cutter into a dosing container. The Spotmix multi-phase feeding system mixes the formulations in portions and distributes them to the special dosing bins of the Compident on-demand feeding system. This allows the feed mixture with the high maize silage content to be dosed out from the call-off feeder to the sows according to the specified feed curve without bridging. Previously, Peter Schmitz gained his experience with ad-libitum maize silage feeding on the floor. "In doing so, I got to know the positive effect of maize silage for the calmness of the sows. However, dominant sows were able to eat much more than the lower-ranking sows, which led to an uneven condition - some were too fat, others too thin," Peter Schmitz explained to us in the interview.

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