EPP Vice President Taru Antikainen (Finland) participated in the Feed Additives Congress 25th and 26th September 2019 in Amsterdam and was part of a panel discussion about the present challenges in livestock and aqua production. The challenges in all areas of meat production seems to be the same…
Our struggles in pig industry now are to meet the current market demands. Finland built a model which includes ways to tell consumers about the sustainability of production and to create a way to increase the transparency of industry from farm to fork. However, this all should be built in a way which should not compromise the productivity and our competitiveness. And that is a huge challenge to deal with. In addition, all of this should be done at the same time with increasing the animal welfare.
We need co-operation from the farms via feed companies and slaughterhouses to food companies. We also need to utilize all digital tools which are available and call for new solutions and applications. This is a lot to do, but it must be done!
Actions of the value chain to reduce the risk of viral livestock diseases
In order to fight against ASF different actions have already carried out in different countries, e.g. fences have been built, signs and at every border, airport, harbor or at many resting places on highways. In addition, co-operation with ministry authorities and hunters are necessary and also science is trying to find solutions. The most promising one being the contraceptive paste for wild boar sows. The results in this study are very promising and this could be the most effectives and quickest way to reduce the number of wild boars in Europe.To reduce the risk of diseases in pig farms the most serious ones were already eradicated in Finland. The industry has built a database called “Sikava” (Stakeholders health and welfare register) together with veterinarians and producers.It was founded 2003 by slaughterhouse companies in order to replace the separate health classification systems, which were run by different slaughterhouse companies. The Five largest slaughterhouse companies in Finland are members of Sikava. The system covers about 90% of the swine farms and about 97% of the production.
The system classifies pig farms into three different categories. A farm starts at the basic level and after it has fulfilled certain health criteria, it can be accepted to the national level. For the breeding farms there is also a higher level, so called special level, with stricter health and biosecurity criteria. Sikava has got quality management system since 2013 and it covers all the requirements of ISO 9001 standard. Similar systems are kept for cattle and poultry as well.
Which animal nutrition solutions do producers need to meet the current challenges?
With modern genetics the litter size of sows was increasing over the last decade. This brings challenges to feed sows and suckling piglets, to ensure good birth and weaning weights of piglets and to avoid excessive weight losses of sows and high mortality of piglets. The feed should be at the same time supporting superb performance, good health and overall welfare of the animals, without becoming too expensive. When there are such problems like tail biting or stomach ulcers, which in many cases are feed related, the nutrition plays a major role to solve these issues. There we need co-operation with the feed companies!
Our common goal is to reduce use of antibiotics and zinc oxide in pig production, so new nutritional solutions are needed to improve gut health and immunity of pigs. In general, pig diets are changing when considering the environmental impacts of production. New solutions are needed in order to improve digestibility of local protein sources and different kind of co-products of food production.
Emerging disruptors that could impact feed and animal production over the coming years
The biggest threat in our section is currently the African Swine Fever Virus (ASFv). The rapid spread of African swine fever will take its toll also on companies operating in the feed sector. The prices will plummet sharply both in pig and feed industry and the demand for feed will decrease significantly. The ASF will have effects, which will be incurable and will trigger mass culls. The consequences are rippling into other sectors that rely heavily on pig farming.
A thing which we also should take into account is consumer behaviour and demands. Activists are visiting farms illegally and meat consumption is the teeth of both, media and environmental people. Furthermore, the NGO’s are putting piling amounts of new regulation to add our producing costs. Therefore, meat must be produced in a sustainable way. We have to calculate our carbon footprint, concentrate on carbon sequestration, circular economy and use the manure in a sustainable way.
the Vice President of EPP
EPP continues to grow and is now present also in the African continent! President Gert van Beek officially welcomes 10 new EPP-Members during the yearly sappo/AGM conference in South Africa as guest speaker.
Finland's Taru Antikainen was elected as the new EPP vice president by members at the general meeting of the European Pig Producers (EPP) e.V. on June 7th 2019 in Landshut. She therefore succeeds the chairman of the German EPP Group, Jürgen Winkelmann, who no longer ran for a further term in office last year.
For the first time in the almost 30-year history of the association, the Managing Board of the European Pig Producers (EPP) e.V. met from 13-15 March 2018 in Finland. In addition to working through the agenda, a visit to a pig farm and a large slaughterhouse and consulting company were scheduled.
The inaugural appearance of representatives from the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) at the 2018 EPP Congress in Switzerland recently prompted a three-day reciprocal visit by the EPP to the Johannesburg / Praetoria region.
During this year’s Cattle & Pig Event at EuroTier 2018 our former president Erik Thijssen was honored by DLG president Hubertus Paetow. For his “candid, communicative and selfless nature” Erik Thijssen was awarded with the DLG silver medal for international relationship. Over his nine years of presidency countries like Ireland, Finland and Switzerland joined EPP alongside 80 new members. To Paetow, this indicates the success of Thijssen’s work.
As EPP / Pig farmers we are already involved since the first outbreak years ago. Till last week it enters our nearby region it seems the rest of world is awakening. This could help us to control the challenge, and we should take that opportunity with both hands.
At the General Assembly of the European Pig Producers (EPP) e.V. in Sursee (Switzerland) on 1 June 2018, the members elected Gert van Beek (51) from the Netherlands as their new President. He won the election in a secret ballot ahead of his fellow candidate Hugh McReynolds (56) from Ireland and thus succeeds Erik Thijssen, who had headed the Club for the last nine years.
During a week-long study trip from 17 – 24 September 2017 to the Midwest, 32 members of the EPP gained some interesting insights into pig production in the US. The group visited farms in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin to share information and experiences with famers in these regions.