How farmers improve pig fattening with rye
Successful pig fattening and happy animals – Andreas von Felde believes they are not mutually exclusive goals. This Northern German farmer plants rye and uses it for feed. He needs less fertilizer, and a recent study backs him up.
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All quiet: Rye reduces hunger and aggression in the sty of farmer Andreas von Felde, who also works as Head of International Product Management at KWS.
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Andreas von Felde swears by a large share of rye in the feed used in finishing his pigs.
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Rye accounts for a ratio of 40% in the fodder used in the finishing process.
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Focused on how well his pigs are fattening: Andreas von Felde in his office.
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Andreas von Felde: “You have to spend a lot of time with your animals. Then you notice a lot of things.”
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A successful farmer: Andreas von Felde, who holds a doctorate in animal breeding, inherited his farm in 2000.
There are some indications that rye can have a positive effect on animal behavior.
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Andreas von Felde sells his rye – and then buys it again as feed.
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Rye delivers good yields even in dry summers.
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State-of-the-art technology has eliminated the risk of ergot infestation. And there is hardly any other cereal that is so resistant as rye.
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Andreas von Felde farms more than 30 hectares of rye.
Animal welfare in pig fattening
He understands why some colleagues can’t or won’t adopt his principles in pig fattening – and urges them all the more to opt for his preferred cereal. After all, nothing has been the same since he significantly increased the rye content. “You can make a quick contribution to animal welfare by using rye as fodder,” he says. “By contrast, changing how you keep animals as a whole takes a lot longer.”
von Felde can hear that his pigs are doing well – and he feels that in the midst of his herd. The farmer regularly mingles with his animals to check that everything is as it should be: “You have to spend a lot of time with your animals. Then you notice a lot of things.” And von Felde has numbers to prove that rye does more than improve animal welfare: The lean meat proportion has soared from 58 to 62 percent and the gain in weight has increased from 810 to 900 grams a day.
“Stand firm, look far ahead and keep moving” – that was a slogan that used to adorn one of his farm buildings, says von Felde. The combination of tradition and modern methods, of animal welfare and efficient farming is now his trademark. This unpretentious farmer is even a little proud that TV teams visit his farm as a result: “I’m very grateful for that!”