North­ern VIEWS

Stim­u­lat­ing sus­tain­able hous­ing for farm an­i­mals

The Poultry Bulletin - - NORTHERN VIEWS - By Gineke Mons

A2007 me­moran­dum on an­i­mal wel­fare pro­claimed that in 2012, 6% of all cat­tle, pig and poul­try houses should be in­te­grally sus­tain­able. These houses are de­fined as hous­ing and man­age­ment sys­tems where dif­fer­ent as­pects of sus­tain­abil­ity are im­proved in an in­te­grated man­ner, com­pared to stan­dard hous­ing and man­age­ment sys­tems.

The fo­cus is on hous­ing and man­age­ment sys­tems that im­prove an­i­mal wel­fare by ap­ply­ing mea­sures that ex­ceed le­gal an­i­mal wel­fare re­quire­ments and that also - at least - meet stan­dards of other so­ci­etal and le­gal con­di­tions on en­vi­ron­ment, an­i­mal health and work­ing con­di­tions. These houses should also be eco­nom­i­cally fea­si­ble.

To en­cour­age farm­ers to in­vest in these types of hous­ing, sev­eral tax mea­sures ap­ply. Sus­tain­able hous­ing, which re­quires a much higher in­vest­ment sum, can be writ­ten off at 100%, while reg­u­lar types of hous­ing will have a re­main­ing prop­erty value of 50% on the bal­ance sheet. In ad­di­tion, there’s a tax reg­u­la­tion - the En­ergy In­vest­ment De­duc­tion - that makes it pos­si­ble for to write off up to 41% of the sum in­vested in en­ergy-sav­ing tech­niques and sus­tain­able en­ergy.

For a poul­try farmer who builds a sus­tain­able broiler house, that means roughly an­other 25% ex­tra write off-po­ten­tial on the to­tal in­vest­ment sum. So, for a broiler farmer able to run his es­tab­lish­ment eco­nom­i­cally, the run­ning costs of a sus­tain­able broiler house will be less per broiler than a

tra­di­tional house. It’s more ex­pen­sive to build, but the en­ergy costs per cy­cle will be sig­nif­i­cantly lower and can make up for the ex­tra in­ter­est that one has to pay to fi­nance the a higher bank loan.

And that’s ex­actly the bot­tle neck. Build­ing a sus­tain­able poul­try house that in­te­grates new, en­ergy-sav­ing tech­niques (so­lar pan­els, air wash­ers, heat ex­change sys­tems that re-use barn warmth in end of cy­cle-broil­ers to heat the floor for day-old chicks, ground cool­ing and heat­ing sys­tems that use the ground un­der­neath the barn as a buf­fer) will cost sig­nif­i­cantly more than a tra­di­tional en­ergy-con­sum­ing poul­try house. But banks have cer­tain fixed stan­dards for fi­nanc­ing poul­try busi­nesses - a fixed max­i­mum amount per hen or broiler, based on the long-term ex­ploita­tion fig­ures in an av­er­age, tra­di­tional house. So get­ting the ex­tra fi­nance needed for build­ing in a sus­tain­able way is quite a strug­gle. Although in fact the mar­ket value of a sus­tain­able poul­try house, with lower run­ning costs per an­num, should be sig­nif­i­cantly higher than that of a tra­di­tional house.

So, what we see is that pro­gres­sive poul­try farm­ers that want to in­vest in sus­tain­able hous­ing some­thing as a so­ci­ety we all want - have to put in more of their own money, or find al­ter­na­tive means of fund­ing. Which is odd, para­dox­i­cal even.

Nev­er­the­less they seem to suc­ceed pretty well. In 2013, a huge sur­vey was done to see if farm­ers had reached the tar­gets set out in 2007. The re­sults of that mon­i­tor show that on 1 Jan­uary 2013, there were 83 346 houses for cat­tle, pigs or poul­try in The Nether­lands. The per­cent­age of in­te­grally sus­tain­able houses was 5.7% for all species to­gether. Cat­tle is lag­ging be­hind with 3.7%; pig farm­ers have more than reached the tar­get of 8.8%; but the win­ner is poul­try, with 15.7%!

The num­ber of sus­tain­able an­i­mal houses un­der con­struc­tion was also taken into ac­count. When these houses are re­alised, the per­cent­age of in­te­grally sus­tain­able an­i­mal houses across species will be 6.5% - 4.7% for cat­tle, 11.6% for pigs, and a whop­ping 20.6% for poul­try. So hats off to our poul­try keep­ers!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.