Sector | Livestock farming Pig farming
Pig farmers, their customers, and their suppliers find here the answer to “what can ILVO do for me?”. A brief overview of relevant expertise, analyses, infrastructure, and the professional approach that characterizes ILVO is listed here. You can contact the Pig Information Center for specific services and questions regarding possible collaboration.Go to Pig Information Center (NL)
What does ILVO do?
ILVO conducts management and feeding trials with piglets and fattening pigs and digestion trials on piglets and fattening pigs according to an optimized experimental design. Among other things, technical performance, animal health, and carcass and pork quality are monitored.
> Overview of ILVO contract research regarding pigs
ILVO has expertise in measuring pork quality (e.g. pH, drip loss, intramuscular fat content, and shear force) and sensory analysis (taste, smell, tenderness, and mouthfeel). ILVO has also trained a specific taste panel to recognize and evaluate boar taint components based on sensory parameters. This expertise is used for research on how management, genetics (boar and sow line), or feed can impact pork quality.
ILVO conducts quantitative and qualitative research into the attitudes of consumers, pig farmers, and other stakeholders in the pig sector concerning management decisions (e.g., boar taint reduction strategies) and pork quality.
ILVO performs chemical and physical analyses of feed components for estimating nutritional value and provides advice regarding the formulation of animal feeds. ILVO also has a lab for chemical analysis of animal products, such as meat, blood, manure, and urine.
> List of animal related analyses
ILVO is responsible for the coordination and scientific follow-up of the Flemish Terminal Sire Testing center. Pig farmers can use this tool to select the most suitable terminal sire for their farm based on objective results from independent practical farms. ILVO also developed various economic tools and calculation modules for better (business) management.
ILVO strives for livelihood security and a more stable income for all links in the agrifood chain, through economic business and sector analysis, research into profitability, added value, market competition, organization of sales, consumer preferences, and the role of cities and municipalities. In order to convert the theoretical knowledge from the research into recommendations that provide support for business leaders, ILVO builds useful web applications and tools.
ILVO conducts research into the effect of different types of feed, weather conditions (heat stress), management, and barn environment and layout on the welfare, behavior, physiology, and morphology of pigs. ILVO also offers scientific expertise and measurement-technical support for animal welfare assessments in both experimental and practical conditions.
ILVO develops and validates sensors and algorithms for monitoring animals: eating patterns, drinking patterns, water consumption, weight, lameness, behavior, location, etc. ILVO has a multidisciplinary team with both technical and domain-wide knowledge and combines new sensors with advanced data analysis to create meaningful management support tools. Improving animal welfare is of paramount importance. Where possible, the focus is therefore on the level of the individual animal, with dashboards and advice tailored to the farmer. Last, ILVO holds training courses and presentations on the use of sensors and data on cattle farms.
> More info: Living Lab Agrifood Technology
ILVO has extensive experience with measuring and evaluating emissions of ammonia, odor, particulate matter and greenhouse gases in and around animal housing, including possible reduction strategies. Modeling of air flows in and around stables is part of the ILVO expertise. ILVO also gives advice and supports the relevant sectors and government regarding the development and evaluation of low-emission animal housing systems.
ILVO has expertise in detection methods for veterinary medication such as antibiotics in animal producs and has develop a rapid 'rope test (NL)' for screening of antibiotic residues in pigs. ILVO provides a training program for slaughterhouses using the test.
ILVO studies water use in agriculture. Literally “making space for water” is central to this line of research, to ensure that water gets a chance to infiltrate into the soil, can be buffered for dry periods, and can be captured for reuse. Water is a key element in ILVO climate research.
> More info about ILVO climate research: Knowledge Center for Climate and Agriculture
> Read more here: Water in agriculture
ILVO has expertise in agroforestry, agroecology, and organic livestock farming. Within this framework, ILVO examines, among other things, how animal and plant production on farms or among farms can be integrated in order to close nutrient (manure – feed) cycles.
> Read about what ILVO does for organic agriculture
> Read more about Agroforestry
How does ILVO work?
ILVO aims to support all stakeholders in Flemish pig farming, from the pig farmers, the supplying and processing industry, the distribution chain, to research and educational institutions, government authorities, consumers, and citizens with the above broad palette of expertise and a modern research infrastructure.
Contemporary challenges are handled by experienced professionals. Together with the other parties involved in the chain, they work on customized solutions.
Your point of contact: the Pig Information Center
The Pig Information Center (Varkensloket) is the ideal point of contact for all questions on pig farming. The answer is always objective, independent, and scientifically substantiated. The Pig Information Center shares the latest research results and sector information by participating in seminars and information sessions, as well as through publications in the trade press, an up-to-date online knowledge center (in Dutch), a website, and a free quarterly newsletter.
The Pig Information Center is glad to listen to your concerns in order to translate them into concrete research questions, and to bring the necessary partners to the table.
Your ILVO guarantee
- Scientifically-based solutions
- Individual and/or co-creative guidance for innovation trajectories
- Confidential treatment of your question
- Clear and easy-to-interpret results that are applicable to day-to-day operations
- Technological support for various farm processes
- Specialised analyses in the Animal Marine Laboratory (ANIMALAB)
Specialized research infrastructure
- The modern Pig Campus (research and educational pig stable of ILVO, Ghent University, and HOGENT) has space for 105 sows, 576 piglets, and 768 fattening pigs
- ILVO’s experimental farm with space for 140 sows, 576 piglets, and 180 fattening pigs
- Low-ammonia emission systems with sloping pit walls and an air scrubber
- Multiple water and feed circuits
- Various scales/measuring equipment for individual and group weighing of pigs
All ILVO expertises at your service
ILVO works in an interdisciplinary fashion and has a network of living labs that work closely together. A problem or question is therefore examined from many different angles by ILVO experts from different disciplines. This is guaranteed by ILVO's broad and systematic approach, together with the typical openness of the ILVO culture.