News - September 21, 2018

WUR pig farm Sterksel to close

Albert Sikkema

The pig innovation centre (VIC) in Sterksel will close in 2020. The experimental farm has too few permanent partners and long-term research projects, and as a result not enough structural funding.

© Corine Feenstra

VIC Sterksel already got into difficulty three years ago. Back then, the director Annie de Veer of Wageningen Livestock Research carried out a cost-cutting exercise, which led to the loss of half the 18 staff. She then went in search of research partners who could give the centre a future. She talked to pig farming producers’ organization POV, businesses in the pig farming sector, the province of Noord-Brabant and the University of Applied Sciences HAS Den Bosch. But that did not deliver the results she had wanted. So now WUR is pulling the plug.

Animal health and welfare
Livestock Research won’t stop its work on pigs as there are still important research questions for the pig farming sector to do with circular-economy agriculture, health and animal welfare. The sector also wants to develop new barn systems to reduce emissions of ammonia and fine particles. Some of those studies were already being done on privately owned pig farms and it is possible this approach to applied research can be extended. De Veer is also still talking to farming and research organizations about setting up joint studies.

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