Ambassador: Marion Verhoeven, De Hoeve BV, Netherlands

Publication date: June 2019 | Theme: Precision production

Challenges: Reducing emissions

Using a daily manure removal system has improved pig health and growth rates, while reducing ammonia emissions for De Hoeve Innovatie’s rearing and finishing business.

Emission reduction, for which there are strict standards in the Netherlands, is tackled at the source by collecting the manure in channels and there is no need for air scrubbers with high energy costs. The system can be installed in both existing and new-build pig accommodation.

Reduced ammonia results in a healthier climate within the shed which delivers advantages for animals, humans and the environment. There are also lower feed and veterinarian costs.



  • Finishing daily weight gain increased by 100g to 900 g/day
  • Finishing feed conversion ratio improved by 0.26 to 2.32
  • Sow mortality is 0.5%
  • Pigs born alive per litter is 15.2
  • Pigs born dead per litter is 0.8
  • Pre-weaning mortality is 8%
  • Rearing mortality and finishing mortality were both 1%
  • Veterinary costs are 31% lower per sow (€60/sow/year) and 58% lower per finishing pig (€0.4/slaughter pig)
  • Production is possible with almost no antibiotic use
  • Total costs were lower by 4.8% per kg of slaughter weight (€ 1.46/kg vs € 1.53/kg hot slaughter weight). This is mostly attributed to lower mortality costs and a decreased need for veterinary intervention


  • The costs of manure disposal through the water system are 30% higher, at €8 per slaughter pig and the system increases the water costs by 20% per slaughter pig at €2/ pig)

Innovation in practice

Pens for fatteners are designed with solid floors. In the front of the pen there is a ‘water’ channel. The manure from this channel is only flushed when needed but at least once per production cycle. The feeder is placed on slats above the water channel.

In the back of the pen, there is a sloping, metre deep, manure channel which is flushed daily with fresh manure and water. There is a solid floor of at least 0.5m² per pig between the two channels.

Limiting the surface area of the manure through sloping walls and limiting the width to 0.6 metres reduces the opportunity for ammonia to evaporate into the air. Methane and odour are reduced because no manure is being stored in the pens.

The system can also deliver up to 40m3 of biogas per cubic metre by removing fresh manure every day, compared to 10m3 of biogas from a cubic metre of old manure. 

More about this best practice

To access more information, contact RPIG (Netherlands): Jos Peerlings