Saturday 25 August 2012
Converting to group housing
Many older farmers will quit pigs rather than meet the prohibitive cost of complying with Europe's January 2013 partial stalls ban, according to Erik Mijten, a board member of the Flemish farmers union.
The average Belgian pig farmer is over 55, an age at which one does not willingly undertake investments that could run to millions of euros, he said.
In a survey conducted by the Flemish government a year ago, only 40 percent of sow units had made the transition from stalls to loose housing. Of the remaining farms, a third to a half said they would quit rather than comply.
The view from Belgium is that older farmers will quit production, and in some cases their farms will be taken over by bigger enterprises. Others will sell their sows, but might keep finishers.
The majority of pigs in Belgium are kept in Flanders, the Dutch speaking northern half of the bilingual country. There are about 6,000 pig farmers in Flanders, half of which keep sows.
Source: pig world
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