"Technology is only as good as you can use it."

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“Since I started to apply technology, I’ve never stopped”

When John van Engelen started in the pig business forty years ago he always wanted to be independent. But since technology has entered his company, it is indispensable. “Technology helps me to improve health status, animal and human welfare and produce a quality product that consumers demand.” The good thing is: John uses all FREEDA solutions in his barn.

Precision feeding

“Together with my son and daughter I run a farrow-to-finish operation with four hundred sows. We’re using RFID technology for precision feeding for our sows, in our farrowing and throughout our barn.” John is clearly pleased with the benefits technology brings to his family business. He mentions two main reasons for introducing the FREEDA systems to his company. The first reason is better health management. “I can use the technology to keep them eating well, even if they get sick, so I can maintain the health of the herd. The second reason is more accuracy and better feeding according to need. This leads to higher performance.”


Performance tests

In his company history, John has already done several performance tests on the finishing pigs: feed conversion tests, trials for pharmaceutical companies or genetic companies. And trials for his own personal references on the growth rates, on the males, females, different feeds and so on. Now he’s doing a trial for different flavor of the meat.


Better results, less work

Many of the FREEDA solutions are applied in the Hog-Tied Farms. “We already applied Electronic Sow Feeding in 2013 in the gestation group”, John explains. “In 2019 we extended this to the farrowing shed with Farrowing Feeding, so that we can accurately feed throughout the entire process. We used to feed the sows in the farrowing pen twice a day. Now we feed them five times a day. As a result, milk production has increased and we wean heavier and more uniform piglets”, the pig farmer notes with satisfaction. John uses Heat Detection with automatic separation in the gilts and the gestation groups. “Heat Detection with automatic separation is a very good indicator for detecting and separating sows that are coming in heat. It saves us a lot of work.”


But that’s not all the technology John uses in his company. He also installed the Weight Monitoring system for the gilts. “This is ideal for working with our sub-breeder or breeding organizations. In this way we can jointly monitor the weight development in relation to the age of the gilts and better determine the moment of first insemination.” John also applies precision feeding on the finishing pigs. In this section he uses FREEDA Sorting. “Every twenty two kilo’s growth we switch to a different feed ration, knowing what weights the pigs are and what nutrients should be required during that stage.”

Sense of security

For John, it is actually the ‘FREEDA technology that matters’. He states: “The FREEDA software program gives me a sense of security when I’m out in the field and still knowing my pigs are getting fed.” In the future, he will continue to focus on improving the welfare of the pigs and people and producing a quality product that the consumer demands.

“My children and I are now in succession planning and taking over the business. I want to give them a business that is viable and can be successful for the future.”


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