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Jens Jørgen Kær

From Viborg in Northern Jutland
500 sows and UK contract producer. High efficiency - 33 weaned pigs per sow per year. Gestation unit with free access stalls. Almost all piglets are sold by 32 kg – sells to three other farmers and 1,000 to Germany
Converted to a loose system in 2008 when he became a UK contract farmer.

Jens Kær decided to switch to UK Contract production in 2008 and change his system to match the special requirements of UK legislation. “I knew little about the loose system and had to draw on the support of consultants,” recalls Mr Kær. “What was then known as the Swedish system - where sows are able to enter and leave individual stalls of their own free will - was completely new to me. It was difficult to adjust to because I thought the older, stall-based system was more efficient. Now I think this system is preferable. The sows are in better condition because they have the opportunity to move around. Their legs are stronger and, as their back muscles are more developed, they farrow more easily.”

The “hotel” design that Mr Kær installed is expensive. The cost of installing such a system today is around DKK 11,000 per sow (around £1,400). Also under the old system , there was space for one third more sows.

Asked about Denmark’s compliancy with the new 2013 legislation, Jens Jørgen Kær says: “All the pig farmers I know are 100% compliant with the law. It would be very difficult for a non-compliant farmer to keep producing with the procedures we currently have in place in Denmark.”