From two to two thousand sows and pioneers in air-conditioned finishing of pigs in the state of São Paulo

13 Apr 2022

Children of Dutch parents who arrived in Brazil in 1950 and part of the "litter" of twelve children. João Gilberto and Alberto Pedro, current owners of the “J.A. Agropecuária” farm in Santo Antônio de Posse/SP, represent the second generation of pig farmers of the Van den Broek family. Who with great grit, persistence and dedication have maintained their business, initiated by his father – a true admirer of pig farming. "We were helping our parents on the farm, which was small. They had laying chickens, broilers, some dairy cattle, but my father's forte was always pigs," says João Gilberto.

Succession and successful partnership

In 1984, Alberto Pedro and João Gilberto assumed the lead of the business definitively, with pig farming and agriculture as their main activities. According to Alberto Pedro, they started with a production of 14.3 piglets weaned/year. Within a year, they had managed to raise productivity to 18.6 piglet/weaned/sow/year. Thanks to new investments aimed at improving the results, this figure subsequently rose, reaching the incredible value of 24 piglets/year. "We were struggling a lot with feed conversion and weight gain, but our focus was cost of production. It was at this time that the guys from De Heus came along and to this day we have a great partnership! I have a lot to thank De Heus and my parents for. I am hugely proud of what my parents achieved and how they managed the succession," says Alberto. "And that's our goal too, to get it to our children," adds Alberto.

Technology and quality as a priority

Rafael Niens, the third generation and son of Alberto Pedro, says that his grandfather started with two matrices. When he passed on the property to his father and uncle, there were already around three hundred and now they have over 2,000 sows in production. "I don't want to increase that number. I just want to improve and fulfil our potential, to make my father and uncle proud," Rafael says.

Currently, the Van den Broek family is concerned with ensuring airconditioned facilities for the phases of pregnancy, maternity and termination. Before this development, animals between 150 and 152 days had a weight gain of 92 to 93 kg. Today, however, animals of 151 days already weigh about 112 kg, equivalent to a daily weight gain (DWG) of nearly 1 kg/animal. These results have been achieved with the support of De Heus and due to the air conditioning mainly adopted in the finishing phase. Now it is important to focus on the feed and nutritional levels to ensure that the animals do not get too fat.  "I've always liked the technology part, so being able to use it on my property - which came from my grandparents to my parents and is now coming to me - is very rewarding and that makes me happy!" says Kollien William, son of João Gilberto and part of the third generation of the family.

Moving forward together

With respect to their partnership with De Heus, Rafael Niens is clear: "Our partnership guarantees success in this process. Today you can't keep changing nutrition because sometimes you fail. We’ve been with De Heus for about six years and the partnership is working well. We plan to move forward together."

We are committed to improving the quality of our products and making a difference in every property we serve, whether by introducing effective management solutions or encouraging profitable and sustainable business development. Side by side with our customers, from generation to generation.