In 2019, Agrifirm invested in eight new Polem flat-bottom silos at its Research Farm Laverdonk. "To study the effect of feeds, it would be ideal to have the feed factory next to the barn. That is of course not possible. With these flat-bottom silos we approach this ideal the best, "says Harold de Louw, Laverdonk manager. With the eight flat-bottom silos, the research company can test eight different feeds or mixtures thereof. "By using flat-bottom silos, the flour reaches the laying hens as uniformly as possible," explains De Louw.
The studies at Research Farm Laverdonk are aimed at further improving the returns of poultry farmers, for example by improving the technical result, efficiency or cost-price savings. "It is important that the feed recipe that we make reaches the chickens from the feed factory as well as possible. With a flat bottom silo, the flour remains uniform and reaches the chicken without segregation, "explains Anne ter Braak, Nutritionist in Laying Poultry. Each department has its own feed valve and can feed accurately per gram. This way of working contributes to the accuracy of the tests with the aim of measuring the influence of feed composition and structure on feed intake, feed efficiency and health.
Translate knowledge into practice
The Innovation Team, of which Laverdonk is a part, works together with universities, suppliers and research centers worldwide. With their own protocols and priorities, they can quickly respond to demands from the market. "Under controlled conditions, including the use of the flat-bottom silos, we can demonstrate very small differences," explains Ter Braak.
The flat bottom silos contribute to the accurate provision of the feed, which means that the differences found between the treatments can largely be explained by the differences between the test feeds. "This allows us to develop feeds under controlled practical conditions and thus translate knowledge into practice and optimize the return on the farm," says Anne ter Braak. "The discharge system with the sweeping auger ensures a continuous product outflow so that there is no bridging. The composition of the feed is therefore the same continuously. That is good for our tests, but certainly also at practice laying poultry farms, "Harold de Louw concludes.