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Climate control drives Venvi Agros performance

ince August 2010, construction has been ongoing at Venvi Agros 2400-sow farm in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte Province. One of the most modern in the country and the only fully automated facility in the province, the two-site facility is ideally located in a 460-hectare property. Six buildings comprise the breeding-gestation area: Breeding, Gestation, Boar House with AI lab, and three Farrowing units. Eleven wean-to-finish buildings are operational with four more under
Venvi Agros selected performance data: August 2011-March 2012.
Parameter Total farrowings Average litter size Av. born alive/litter Av. wean/litter Av. live birthweight Av. market weight Av. market age Av. total kg gained from weaning Av. daily growth from birth Top 25% Bottom 25% Av. daily growth from wean Top 25% Bottom 25%

construction, expected to be in full swing by June this year. Venvi Agro, producing Camborough 24 parent gilts, is one of 13 PIC multiplier farms in the Philippines. It is also producing GP 1050 to support its plans for expansion. The first breeding stocks arrived at the farm in the last week of January 2011 with the first farrowings occurring in August of the same year. The farm has now become a steady source of Camborough 24 gilts with over 2000 heads delivered to date. Strong performance Venvi Agros pig farm has performed beyond expectations; it has reached if not surpassed the benchmarks set by PIC for its Philippine operations. Even with only Parity 1 & Parity 2 females in

Northern Philippines experiences very hot temperatures and pounding typhoons each year not ideal conditions for raising pigs. Venvi Agro-Industrial Ventures Corp, however, has managed to get around nature by putting their animals in environmentally controlled houses, and, as ISA Q TAN reports, has begun to reap rewards.
the herd, the production numbers are already approaching 12 pigs born per litter. This leaves more to be expected as this herd continues to mature. The growth performance of the pigs has placed Venvi Agro high among PICs multiplier farms in the Philippines. Pigs from the first farrowing grew at an average of 749g/day after weaning, with those on the top 25% registering ADG of 865g. Even

1049 12.2 11.4 10.6 1.4kg 114kg 167 days 107.1kg 674g 774g 595g 749g 865g 655g

those in the bottom 25% posted an impressive 655g/day growth. Such performance is comparable even to that of PICs US farms. Many people couldnt believe that our pigs were growing that fast, said Jerry Ancheta, Venvi Agros Senior Vice President and head of the farms operations. Definitely, we are doing better than we expected. Dr Byron Cardenas, PICs resident Contract Production Officer at Venvi Agro, said there were even pigs that posted ADGs very near a kilo.

Adrian Carlos, PICs Luzon Gilt Multiplication Team Leader. For us at PIC, we need to get the gilts out by the time they reach 85kg, so we needed to adjust our forecasting for the availability of the gilts. Housing and management Venvi Agros remarkable performance, noted Dr Carlos, can be attributed largely to the type of housing in the farm.
Each pen in the wean-to-finish houses is designed to accommodate 22 heads.

The new wean-to-finish buildings are longer and will have a capacity of 1032 heads.

Above: Venvi Agro SVP Jerry Ancheta with Dr Adrian Carlos.

And this despite the fact that the first batches of pigs were somewhat congested in the pens. Although the farms design is such that each pen is to house only 22 pigs, unavoidable delays in construction led to higher stocking of the pens after the first farrowing. the start, when we were At computing for the buildings, we were working with an estimated litter size of 10-10.5, explained Mr Ancheta. We went beyond that, and then, because of typhoons, our building construction was slowed down. We ended up having more piglets than we expected but not enough room, so we had to increase stocking rates of the pens. The pigs fast growth proved to be a bit of a problem, albeit a good one. The pigs grew faster than we had projected so at first we had some minor problems, said Dr

We are really seeing good numbers here and the main reason for that is the climate controlled housing, he said. our multiplier units are All using the same genetics and the same nutrition, and many of our other units are performing very well. However, with Venvi Agros tunnel ventilated housing, the pigs have really been able to express their genetic potential. The farm though was not originally planned to be a big operation. When we first began planning the farm, we were only thinking of a 250-sow, open house operation, but our President, Atty. Larry Valdez, having visited PICs farms in the US, eventually decided to go for a higher population and environmentally controlled housing, explained Mr Ancheta. We had a consultant for the design, but we also consulted with

PIC boar. Top opposite page: The breeding gestation unit currently has one breeding barn, one gestation barn, three farrowing barns and the boar house/A.I. centre.

PIC and they made suggestions as to the flow of the pigs and the buildings and space computations. All the buildings are made of concrete, with the walls and roofs being insulated. They are all equipped with climate control equipment from Big Dutchman, which also supplied the automatic feeding systems in all the barns. w

In addition to having environmentally controlled buildings, Venvi Agro also decided to run a wean-to-finish operation, eliminating the need for nursery barns. It is, in fact, the first such operation in the country. With a wean-to-finish operation, we are able to reduce the stress to the pigs, said Dr Cardenas. The pigs are moved only once, which is when they are weaned, for less physical stress. Since they will be staying in the pen with the same pigs throughout the growing period, there is also less social stress. Strict biosecurity Also key to Venvi Agros strong performance is the strict biosecurity implemented throughout the farm. Were raising very high health animals, and we need to ensure that they remain healthy, said Mr Ancheta. The biosecurity measures, in adherence to PIC protocols, are followed to the letter. Farm workers stay in the farm for 26 straight days before taking days off. Anyone coming from outside the farm must be free from pig exposure for at least four days.

Once inside the farm, a two-day downtime in the medium security area is required. Two more days are spent at the staff house in the high security area before anyone is allowed into the pig barns. Every entry into the production area requires a shower using germicidal soaps. In fact, within the breeding area, two showers are needed if one is to go into the boar house. Footbaths are also provided at the entry of each house. Clothes are provided by the farm. The farm has vehicles that are strictly for use within the farm. Those that move between various areas in the farm are disinfected every time they go inside the high security area. Vehicles from outside the farm are only allowed up to the medium security area and are disinfected at the entrance. Food from any four-legged animals is not allowed into the farm. Only chicken and fish are

allowed, and the pork comes from within the farm. As for the feeds, PIC requires that no animal protein be used as raw material. For now, Venvi Agro sources its feed rations from B-Meg and Cargill. However, there are plans to eventually manufacture at least some of its feed requirements internally. An existing feedmill in the property is undergoing upgrade and rehabilitation. Raising market hogs Venvi Agro raises all male piglets and female pigs that do not pass PICs gilt selection process as market hogs. These are grown to an average of 110-120kg.

Powering up with biogas

Venvi Agro Industrial Ventures Corps farm operations will soon be powered up by biogas. The farm is nearing the completion of its digester and the target is to have the system up and running by June this year. We will have four generators, said Jerry Ancheta, Venvi Agros Senior Vice President. Once the biogas system is running, that would be our main power source. The electricity we buy from the electric cooperative and the diesel generator will just be our backup power sources. Mr Ancheta remarked that the savings that will result from the use of biogas will be significant, adding that based on their computation, the energy from the system once it goes online will be more than enough to power the farms operation. Its even possible for us to sell the excess energy, he said.

One of the control panels for the barns climate control system.

The Venvi-Agro farm has two earth dams that can produce some 19 million litres of water. The dams are integrated with natural filtration systems that can produce over 600 litres of water per hour.


Mr Ancheta relates that while there was some minor difficulty when they initially marketed the pigs, these were soon overcome when their buyers realised that their pigs are of good quality and have good meat recovery and quality. Because our pigs are fast growing, they reach a certain weight at an earlier time, he said. Because they are still young, their meat is very good quality. And because we grow them to a bigger market size, the buyers are able to get better meat recovery. So now they come back to us, and marketing is no longer a problem. In the long term, however, Venvi Agro is looking to directly market its own pork meat. This year,

Pictured across this spread from far left: A room at one of the new wean-to-finish building waits to be loaded. Each house is divided into two rooms with a solid wall punctuated by small windows. With Venvi Agros tunnel ventilated housing the pigs have really been able to reach their genetic potential. The number of fans operating in a house depends on the temperature inside. The feeding system throughout the farm is fully automatic, with equipment from Big Dutchman. Silos store feed that goes directly into each of the houses.

the company targets to open five meat shops. One is already under construction and is set to go online in April. Hopefully, all our market pig production will go into the meat shops, said Mr Ancheta. But a lot would depend on the market. Actually, even if we could market

all our pork, it would still not be enough to meet the requirements of the province. But we have to wait and see how the market will move. The company also has the construction of a slaughterhouse and a meat processing plant in n the pipeline.