The green road on a study trip to Switzerland
Last week, De Groene Weg went on a study trip to Switzerland with a number of her pig breeders. The aim of this study trip was to gather more knowledge about a breed of pig bred in Switzerland suitable for organic farming. In total, approximately 25 organic pig farmers, affiliated with De Groene Weg, traveled to Switzerland. Here they visited a breeding farm and two pig farmers near Lucerne.
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De Groene Weg has been researching breeding breeds that are well suited to raising organic pigs for some time now. After all, the requirements established by the organic legislation of the European Union require certain characteristics of pigs that differ from those of non-organic pig breeding. For example, organic pigs should always be able to go out freely and pigs roam freely in the slimming coop. The latter requires, for example, sows that are naturally calm. After all, the farmer must be able to safely enter the barn after the pigs give birth to young. It is also important that pig droppings are not too large. This ensures that adequate nutrition is available from the mother to all her pigs. But it also ensures that the piglets are stronger, which means that the mortality rate during the lactation period is much lower.
The specially created “breeding” working group of De Groene Weg is looking for breeding breeds that guarantee less loss in the barn, but can also guarantee the economy of pig farming. In recent years, the working group has exchanged a great deal of knowledge between farmers themselves and with different breeding organizations.
In Switzerland, the free pasture system is a requirement not only in organic farming, but also in ordinary pig farming. There they began to breed sows more than 20 years ago that show characteristics consistent with the free-range system, and therefore also with organic pig breeding.
The Gruen Wig breeding team went on a study trip to Switzerland to learn about this Swiss breed of pig. For example, the group of farmers visited a breeding farm operating with this line of pigs and two farmers in the area who raise this breed of pig. Marja Hillebrand of Ralat is one of the farmers who attended. “We found it very interesting to have a look at these Swiss companies. Moreover, the contact you establish with other farmers during these days provides real added value. When you are on the road for a few days, there is really time to share experiences with organic pig farmers others, which made this study trip of great value to us.”
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Joyce van den Bos
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