11th October 2017
At the international trade fair for food industry ANUGA, the Managing Director of LFD Holding, Jörn F. Göbert gave an insight into the positive development of his company. The implementation of measures to improve housing conditions and transparency has proceeded since May 2016, according to Göbert. Over the past year and a half, major investments have been made in the facilities to improve animal welfare and environmental sustainability. By 2018, a total of around 25 million euros will be invested in comprehensive modernisation measures at almost all sites. Another 12 million euros will flow into maintenance.
Increased quality – the “Value Pig” concept
Göbert is continuing to promote the “Value Pig” concept, that LFD Holding has designed to attract both consumers and producers. “Today, pork is sold like fuel: There is only one quality and the market determines the price. We cannot blame the consumer for buying the cheapest product. It is only through the differentiation of our meat with added value that we get a permanently better yield and a more stable market situation. And: The past few years have shown that the singular value ‘Animal Welfare’ does not matter, which is why we can only bundle this important topic with further added value for the consumer,” Göbert says.
Two essential aspects are the taste of the meat and transparency of its origin. Using the “Value Pig” concept, LFD wants to make higher quality and tasteful pork available at a solid price. According to the company, there is increasing pressure on the retailer’s side and consumers are also willing to pay more for high-quality products. The future of pig breeding can only be guaranteed through the permanent establishment of better-paid quality products, the LFD Managing Director argues.
In 2016, a successful field test with 12,000 animals was started. The implemented measures included individual animal tracking with the help of RFID technology as well as breeding without or with significantly reduced use of antibiotics. Currently, the company is planning tests with older genetics and reduced growth rates. According to Göbert, this type of breeding will lead to a significant improvement of the meat taste and, thus, to a real tangible added value for the consumer.
For the producer, the advantages are also obvious, Göbert says. The concept could be implemented quickly; stable plants would not need to be additionally certified or rebuilt. In terms of price, the higher quality meat is located between organic and lower-priced meat and is related to the price of beef. The whole thing is intended as a nationwide open system, which offers quick market penetration and wide popularity. Therefore, Göbert is in talks with possible partners.
With regard to the highly discussed topic of gestation crates, LFD Holding is already practicing a solution which is currently emerging as a compromise in many political statements (paper of the Ministry of Agriculture and the initiative of the Conference of Agriculture Ministers). Göbert: “We see the future in a maximum abandonment of the sow stalls for the welfare of the animals and ethical reasons.”
By converting 75 percent of all crates to group housing in many larger sites and by abolishing post-insemination caste keeping, the company has already increased group housing per sow by 70 to 270 days a year. However, the stalls still offer retreats for animals that want to avoid ranking fights. “We have implemented a very species-appropriate group concept,” Göbert said.
However, the LFD is willing to go even further and reduce box fixation from the current ten down to three to five days during the rutting season and insemination. “That would allow us to increase the group keeping time by more than 80 days per year.”
Furthermore, the LFD Managing Director demanded that all the upcoming changes must be made with care, both from an animal welfare and an economic perspective. Above all, these include nationwide consistent and appropriate transitional periods for new regulations. Otherwise, Germany threatens to become an import country for meat products whose origin and production can no longer be controlled.
LFD Holding operates piglet breeding farms at eleven locations across Germany. Chairman of the Board is Jörn F. Göbert.
LFD Press Office
c/o plan B communication
+49 331 / 88 76 030