Pig farmer Hanneke van den Corput is very passionate about her job. She tells us all about the family business. It was her great-grandfather who founded the sow farm in Vught in 1945.
At a very young age Hanneke knew that she had a passion for pigs. At age 12, she got her own pig. Not only as a pet, but also for breeding so that she could make a little money. It was therefore logical that she went to study at the HAS (agricultural education in the Netherlands) . In 2011 Hanneke and her husband Dion took over the company. The first year Hanneke worked part-time on the farm and part-time at PorQ. “Everyone said that I had to gain other working experience as well, but actually I just wanted to work at our farm.” It did not take long before she started working fulltime in the family business. With a lot of passion and enthusiasm she is responsible for the care of the sows and piglets in the farrowing pen.
Our own research farm
“We have our own research farm, we put a lot of things into trial.”, Hanneke explains enthusiastically. She shows that the dividing plate between every two farrowing pens is removed in one of the departments. This allows piglets from one litter to take in colostrum from another sow. “The chance that piglets ingest enough colostrum is now higher and this helps them built a strong immune system.”, Hanneke says. As with every trial things sometimes do not go as predicted. The earmark shows that piglets still choose their own mother sow. “I expect that if piglets from other litters are added that they will go to another sow. The piglets from these litters do perform better, so despite of the lack of choosing for another sow the result is positive.” Another trial is the piglet feeding system. In 50% of the sections the feeding system is installed. But pig farmer Hanneke is not convinced yet. “We do not see any results in the farrowing pen yet, however it does makes our work easier.” The trials do pay off, the average of live births is 15,6. Only the drop-out rate is still high. The passion of Hanneke and Dion is evident. “We continue testing until we found the cause.”
Based on gut feeling
Based on her gut feeling Hanneke relocates the piglets. Between 12 to 24 hours she relocates the piglets so that a litter of 15 remains. The piglets are then placed with a nursing sow or relocated to a smaller litter. These are mainly the smaller piglets, which are put together in one litter. “We always relocate multiple piglets of one litter, only removing and relocating one piglet does not work, it will get cast off. Many of the procedures in the farrowing pen are based on Hannekes gut feeling and are part of her daily routines. Such as providing the sows with sufficient clean drinking water and keeping everything tidied up. One week before weaning the sows are given a daily ration of sugar in order to stimulate ovulation.
The ‘Pig burger’
In addition to caring for the farrowing pen Hanneke runs her own online meat shop : puurvleeskopen.nl. Customers can buy the pork and beef online and then pick it up in Vught. The ‘Pig burger’ directly stands out. “This burger is made from the entire pig, with specific herbs we were able to create a delicious burger. And besides it is an optimum carcase balance.” Soon clients are also able to buy chicken on puurvleeskopen.nl.