There are still piglets in ottowind

There are still piglets in ottowind

One out of 15 farms – that’s all that’s left of the piglet production in the ottowind district of meede. The remaining barn belongs to the family schrijer. But why are there fewer piglet farmers in general?? The main reason is an EU regulation that requires breeding sows to be kept in groups and prohibits them from being kept permanently in individual pens. Until the beginning of the year the farmers had time for the conversion. For the schrijers this meant uncertainty, a little frustration and a lot of money.

Because: because of the regulation from brussel, farmers had to rebuild their stables – which causes high costs. "We had to think long and hard before we finally decided to take this step", says jan schrijer. After all, he and his wife marina had to put up around 200,000 euros, about 20 percent of which came from demand funds. "We had a long time to think about the decision", says marina schrijer. They only made the decision at the end of 2010, when a successor for the farm had been found.

Axel backert from the neustadt area has been working on the schrijers’ farm for over two years and wants to take it over. Backert sees agriculture in a process of change: "we are in the midst of a structural transformation. It’s easier for large companies to make new investments, and the smaller ones are left behind", says the 27-year-old farmer.

In the new group house, nine or ten sows are lying on the floor or walking around. "Now each sow has 2.25 square meters of lying space," says, explains jan schrijer. He and his wife are both in their mid-fifties and, without a successor for the farm, had not dared to undertake the expensive renovation. "Many farmers our age didn’t have that security and quit.", says jan schrijer. In addition, the poor piglet prices of the past few years have not left much room for major investments.

The latest figures from the bavarian state office for statistics show a trend toward fewer breeding sows (see infobox). Fewer breeding sows equals fewer piglets and thus fewer fattening pigs – this calculation does not add up. The number of fattening pigs increased by 7.5 percent. Piglet imports from neighboring european countries, especially denmark and the netherlands, more than compensate for the domestic decline in piglet production. Jan schrijer explains: "the danes and hollanders specialized in piglet production at an early stage. They don’t have the space to do large-scale, land-intensive breeding of fattening pigs."

When you enter the room for the piglets, you are met by a wall that is almost 30 degrees warm. Here, jan schrijer feeds the piglets up to around 30 kilograms and can currently sell them for 54 euros per animal. "That’s a good price." His 154 breeding sows give birth to an average of 23.5 piglets per year. It will take a long time for the schrijers and axel backert to pay off the new 200,000-euro barn. The EU commission has already initiated the first proceedings against countries where breeding sows are still kept in individual pens, including germany. Jan schrijer has converted and is also satisfied with it. "We are ready for the future", says axel backert.

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