Apparently, pigs feel better with the right lighting in sheds. That’s why, as part of their ‘Enlightened Pigs’ project, Slaughterhouse Westford in IJsselstein and pig farm De Hoeve BV in Valkenswaard are looking into how lighting can best be utilized to improve the well-being of their animals.

Pig farm De Hoeve BV has undertaken several projects in the field of sustainability. For example, in 2017 the Dutch company started a project to create an optimal climate in the sheds. This research not only measures the temperature of the sheds, but also the CO2 and oxygen content and the presence of ammonia and fine particulates. Pig farmers are able to create better conditions for the animals with this data. The project fits in with the plans of the Dutch government, which wants the Netherlands to lead the way in sustainable circular agriculture by 2030. This includes recycling waste, but also animal-friendly livestock farming.

Light influences mood

It is already common knowledge that lighting affects people’s productivity and mood. In contrast, the influence of lighting on animal welfare has been researched only to a limited extent. The companies want to find out in their project how factors such as the intensity and color of light play a role in animal welfare, the environment, and ultimately the operational results.

The project

The companies want to develop a lighting technique that is ideal for animals. This lighting concept should eventually be included in the standard monitoring system. Among other things, this system measures the temperature and air quality in the stalls and then adjusts it for the most optimum climate possible.

The companies are working together with the Animal Production Systems Group chair at the Dutch Wageningen University & Research (WUR). This study group focuses on sustainable livestock farming and animal welfare. The Dutch Research Council (NWO) is funding the research.

Lighting systems used in this research are sourced from Signify, formerly Philips Lighting. Signify also supplies smart sensors for adjusting the lighting.

Pig farm De Hoeve BV

Pig farm De Hoeve BV has undertaken several projects in the field of sustainability. For example, in 2017 the company started a project to create an optimal climate in sheds. This research not only measured the temperature of the stalls, but also the CO2 and oxygen content and the presence of ammonia and fine particulates. With this data, the pig farmers are able to create better conditions for their animals.

The Monovergister project was launched in 2016. The goal of that project was to establish an energy-neutral pig farm. Energy can be generated with manure from the pigs by using the mono-digester. Fresh manure is used daily for this, which also limits the amount of methane that is produced.

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