Billed as “the world’s leading exhibition for professional livestock management,” EuroTier 2010 was staged at the 45-acre exhibition grounds in Hanover, Germany on Nov. 13-16, 2010. Organized by the German Agricultural Society — Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft (DLG), a non-profit organization headquartered in Frankfurt, the trade show boasts nearly 2,000 exhibitors from 49 countries, with slightly over half based in Germany. Twenty-six U.S. and 10 Canadian companies were represented.

The massive trade show provides broad representation of products and services for a wide range of animal production, including aquaculture, pigs, poultry, sheep and cattle. In addition, new technologies in the field of bioenergy, renewable fuels and systems associated with a decentralized energy supply were featured by over 550 companies in a special display dubbed “BioEnergy Decentral.”

Two of the 27 buildings on the show grounds were devoted solely to swine husbandry, feeding technologies, climate control and housing, reproductive technologies and genetics. Feed production and handling, feed additives and supplements, veterinary medicine products, and agricultural software for all species filled four additional buildings.

Loose Sow Housing Featured

At the invitation of the DLG, I had the opportunity to view this vast display of livestock technology. Naturally, my focus was on the two buildings devoted to pig production technologies, but an additional lure was a 5,400-sq.-ft. special display of loose sow housing technologies, sponsored by DLG and Bauforderung Landwirtschaft (BFL), an organization representing agricultural and livestock building construction.

The special exhibition recognized that pork producers in the European Union (EU) member states are now on a fast track, which mandates that gestating sows cannot be housed in individual stalls after Jan. 1, 2013. See adjoining story, page 8, for more on the loose sow housing options.

Technologies Abound

Company displays in Buildings 11 and 12 ranged from small, single-booth displays dwarfed by gigantic exhibits with a full line of products and services for pork producers.

Throughout the self-guided tour, I had the able assistance of Iowa State University Extension Swine Specialist Ken Stalder, who helped ferret out some of the product details as we visited with company representatives. Stalder’s research acumen proved particularly valuable in analyzing sow management technologies and equipment, and how those systems fit with the universal goals of improving sow lifetime productivity.

Four days of scouring hog-focused halls began to reveal some interesting trends. Clearly, pork producers in EU countries are focused on the Jan. 1, 2013 deadline for eliminating gestation stalls. Two additional trends surfaced — pork producers are focused on new technology and production efficiency.

“Top to bottom, there were more electronics, more technology, available to help producers manage their operations,” Stalder observed. “The interest in technology seems to be driven, at least in part, by family-farm operators trying to manage more pigs without hiring outside labor.”

Trade show aisles were packed and company representatives were busy throughout the event. “The number of people in attendance amazed me, even considering this is a multi-country event. The pork producers seemed serious about evaluating products, making purchases. The trade show is very big relative to any livestock trade show we have in the States. I thought there would be more U.S. companies represented,” Stalder added.

Attendance for the four-day event was logged in at over 140,000, including about 23,500 international visitors from 78 countries.