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Alex Casteele

In Heuvelland, a municipality located in the Belgian province of West Flanders, Alex Casteele and his wife Inge started up a farm in 1994. The combination of dairy cattle and turkeys results in a busy but also pleasantly varied activity schedule.In 2001 the turkey production capacity was more than doubled.  With the construction of a new house the total capacity was increased to 16,000 turkeys.

 

Rearing with Optistart and finishing with OptiMax

The first house was built in 1994 and is 20 m wide and 65 m long. It has a density of 5.5 hens/m². The choice of feeding and drinking system for the house was a logical and easy one: Roxell. The house used for rearing and production is equipped with Optistart, OptiMax and Flex Auger as transport system.

At the start-up the house is divided into 8 groups of 2000 turkeys. After 6 days the partitions in the house are removed and the 3rd feeding line is activated.  This allows Alex to achieve a better uniformity and a higher final weight. "Our females easily weigh more than 10 kg after 16 weeks", says Alex Casteele.

After 4 weeks the males are moved to the finishing house, the females remain in the rearing house where the Optistart pan is replaced by OptiMax.

 

Production with OptiMax

The second house, built in 2001, is 18 m by 75 m and has a density of 4.5 cocks/m². The finishing house for males was fitted with the OptiMax pan. The pan's design allows for optimal access to the feed. Alex uses the central winch system to adjust the feed level in the pan. The feed level changes from high to low during the finishing time. This results in optimal feed conversion, limited feed waste and a final weight of 16 kg after 17 weeks.

 

Challenge for the sector

As president of the Belgian Association of Turkey Farmers, Alex knows the ins and outs of the turkey market better than anyone else.

“Belgium has 25 turkey farmers and cannot fall back on foundations and experiences from the past. The challenge for the sector therefore lies mainly in knowledge sharing.  Starting small and careful monitoring is the message.