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AHDB Pork Blog

A whirlwind tour by Emma Slater

undefinedIt’s the morning of 27 November and I’m frantically trying to cram everything and anything, for any possible eventuality, into a suitcase for a study tour to Denmark. I was brought up with the belief that it was better to over prepare than under prepare, but I feel in some aspects of my life this can now be a hindrance, rather than a help! Richard Bows, Dominic Charman and I, alongside eight producers and building suppliers, are heading over to Denmark for what is promising to be a varied and informative trip, organised by the Environment and Buildings team at AHDB Pork.

Fast forward a few weeks and I’m writing up the notes from the trip ready for a report and photo story. Before this visit, I’d only been to Copenhagen, where I had spent the majority of the time drinking black coffee (after day two you become a little more accustomed) and eating a lot of Danish pastries, so I was really looking forward to having a look at some Danish farms and seeing a bit more of the country. I’d always been aware of the major differences between our industries and, in particular, infrastructure, but to see it first hand was really valuable. One thing that really struck me was the scale – the farm we visited that was under construction was going to house 5,300 finishing pigs!

This was our second study tour where we’ve looked at a pH reduction system, as there’s been a lot of interest in the UK due to increasing environmental challenges. For those of you who might not yet have come across this concept, the system works by adding acid to slurry to reduce the pH to 5.5 and reduce the conversion of ammonium to ammonia; this cuts ammonia emissions by approximately 60%. The farmer we visited reported that the system has noticeably reduced ammonia levels, improved working conditions for his staff and reduced flies.

Our next port of call was the Intellifarm. This concept was originally developed in the dairy industry and, in recent years, has been adapted for pigs. It’s based on a hybrid ventilation system which combines Automatically Controlled Natural Ventilation (ACNV) with fans, providing cross-flow ventilation. It’s also possible to add an air cleaning system, so exhaust air is removed from underneath the slats (removing ammonia, dust and odour), improving air quality within the building. Benefits include lower energy requirements, reduced emissions, automatic slurry removal and options for heat recovery.

Our final visit was to Agromek, northern Europe’s largest agricultural fair. My main focus was to visit the stands related to buildings and ventilation systems. Over dinner, we discussed what everyone had seen and what had particularly impressed us. That’s probably the part I found most valuable from the trip – learning from one another. It was great to hear what others might be taking away from the tour and applying to their business, whether that might be in terms of improving biosecurity or changing the diameter of their slurry pipes.

If you want to know more about any of these concepts or future study tours, get in touch, and look out for a full report from the trip, coming soon.

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By AHDB Pork at 20 Feb 2017, 11:56 AM


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