Substantially N- and P-reduced feeding in practice
Stefan Weckendorf runs a family operation. At 42, the foundation walls of the main house where he lives today together with his family come from the 18th century. One of the reasons why their operation has been successful so long is the fact that they are always willing to scrutinise their own actions and explore new avenues – sometimes ahead of anyone else. That's sometimes because of demands from new laws and ordinances, for example the re-enactment of the Dung Ordinance.
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- Stefan Weckendorf goes through the stalls with Reinhard Everding (right) on a regular basis and discusses important operation routines.
Der erste Einschnitt in den normalen operationsalltag erfolgte vor etwa zwei Jahren, als Weckendorf Platz für weitere 2.500 animals schaffte. This meant that he first had to distribute a part of his liquid manure onto external areas. This is the reason why our man in Ascheberg started thinking about how he could get the nutrient situation under control. One solution that promised little interference in the existing processes was the substantially N- and P-reduced feeding strategy of AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG.
Stefan Weckendorf is constantly in touch with Reinhard Everding and as the field worker at AGRAVIS, he recommended N- and P-reduced feeding a couple of years ago. That's a strategy that has taken root to date. Now, they are jointly taking another step.
A lot of benefits of special feeding
Bernhard Walgern is the product manager for pork at AGRAVIS and he puts it this way: "you can add a couple of notches with substantial N- and P-reduced feed". A whole series of experiments at AGRAVIS has long since proven that agriculturists are not taking any risks. In contrast, experts see the benefits of this special feeding method. Reinhard Everding goes on record by saying that "it's not only fewer nutrients and liquid manure being produced - the animals are doing better as well".
For instance, the fact that the animals take in less crude protein relieves their metabolism. That in turn means they gain weight better and feed is also utilised better. Diese liegt beim operation Weckendorf derzeit bei 1: 2,75. „Ich glaube fest daran, dass sich dieser Wert noch verbessern wird“, ist der operationsleiter überzeugt. The trick with this strategy is its intricate composition. Walgern tells us that "we supplement the feed to create the best protein" and the feed is planned based on digestible amino acids that are the most important building blocks for putting on meat.
Less liquid manure
The crucial difference is the fourth and last phase of fattening where the animals only take feed with 14 percent of crude protein (the standard is 15-16 percent) where the average phosphorous content is about ten percent lower than previously. Was auf den ersten Blick nicht viel erscheint, hat massive Auswirkungen bei den Ausscheidungen: die Phosphorausscheidung verringert sich um 18,5 percent, die nitrogenausscheidung um 5,6 percent.
For Stefan Weckendorf, that means that he will have to export substantially lower amounts of liquid manure. Bislang gibt er 2.600 Kubikmeter ab, diesen Wert wird er nach ersten Hochrechnungen von Bernhard Walgern um rund 1.800 Kubikmeter reduzieren können wenn er in Zukunft die gleiche Phosphormenge wie bisher auf seinen Flächen ausbringen darf. Since about one third of his fields are in phosphorous supply stage D, he would have to place 20 kilograms of P2O5 per hectare less pursuant to the present draft of the Dung Ordinance and in turn export more liquid manure.
This also saves money
Durch die substantial N- and P-reduced feeding wären es jedoch nur 1.300 kubikmetres liquid manure, die dann abgegeben werden müssten. Since he feeds less phosphorous than in the standard substantially N- and P-reduced process in the Fisopan strategy, he hopes that the phosphorous supply of the D areas will be developed back to supply level C in a couple of years. That saves Weckendorf an enormous amount of money.
This new form of feeding has even more potential for financial savings. "Crude protein is the most expensive variable. If we can reduce that, we also reduce costs," according to Reinhard Everding. In figures, that means saving 1.00-1.50 Euros per animal. Beyond this, our agriculturist doesn't need to be afraid that the pigs would be over- or undersupplied in any fattening section because, "our animals are kept excellently supplied with everything they need by dividing them up into the various phases."
The courage to dare do something else
On Weckendorf's farm, they not only have the courage to take on new challenges, but also the ideal conditions for special feeding. For instance, when the new stall was built, they also put together their own feed kitchen where six silos provide space for 80 tons of Fisopan. That provides excellent conditions for adapting the feed to the animal's needs in the various fattening phases. Stefan Weckendorf describes it this way: "We see feed as one of the most important adjustment mechanisms. That's why he does not scrimp either in the feeding technique or any other process. Walgern is of the opinion that "nutrient-reduced feeding is nothing new for agriculturists, but now it's becoming acute". A lot of operations have the option of using the right feeding strategy to tone down the consequences of the planned Dung Ordinance.
AGRAVIS itself has been devoting its efforts to this issue for more than 20 years. That means it has a wide range of individualised solutions and approaches to the problem on hand in the segments of Olympig-Alleinfeed, Fisopan supplementary feed and Vitamiral mineral feed on hand. Stefan Weckendorf has a favourable assessment of the first weeks using the new strategy: "We know how it works. The animals did not have any negative reaction to the changeover and their weight increases were constant".
You can get more information on this from your production consultants and the product manager Bernhard Walgern, telephone: +49+251+682-2283. firstname.lastname@example.org.