"Prioritize your animals – and they will repay you": A Hypor Customer Success Story

Published on April 25, 2024

"Prioritize your animals – and they will repay you": A Hypor Customer Success Story

Meet Normand Gagne, Agricultural Production Manager at duBreton, a family-owned business tracing its roots back to 1944. duBreton has achieved amazing results with Hypor pigs while maintaining the needs of their business as a certified organic and certified humane producer. This collaboration between duBreton and Hypor underscores a shared commitment to excellence and high quality.

Can you tell us a bit about your role at duBreton and the history of the company?

My name is Normand Gagne, and I am the Agricultural Production Manager at duBreton in Quebec, Canada. It's a family business that started in 1944 with Napoléon Breton. Today his grandson, Vincent Breton is head of operations, with the next generation starting to become involved in the company. The company has evolved over time, but we now specialize in pork processing with a focus on organic and certified humane production. We now manage around 80 feeder farms.

duBreton has transitioned from conventional to organic and certified humane production. Can you share more about this shift and the certifications you hold?

Indeed, we transitioned from conventional to organic and certified humane production under Vincent's leadership. Our focus is on animal welfare, and we have various certifications reflecting our commitment to it. We no longer produce conventional pork and instead offer a wide range of niche pork products. We use a farrowing pen where the sows are free to stand up and turn around, and we don't use any antibiotics. Piglets are weaned at 35 days, and we don't practice tail docking or teeth cutting.

Regarding the Proposition 12 certification, what advice would you give to breeders looking to transition to a group sow system?

When we first made this change, we had the same fears as anyone else. We worried we wouldn't be able to feed our sows properly or that we would have issues with aggression. But looking at the well-being of our animals today, we’ll never go back. When you walk around our farms and see the comfort of the animals, the relationship that employees have with them, it's been very positive. I would recommend embracing the change. Another piece of advice is to invest in a modern feeding system to ensure that the sows are in good body condition at farrowing.

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How do Hypor pigs contribute to the success of duBreton's operations?

Hypor pigs are known for their social nature, making them adaptable to our large group settings. The sows are very maternal and take good care of their piglets. I've also seen that these are sows that come back into heat well. I would also say that these pigs are heartier and respond really well to our rearing conditions considering we don't use antibiotics. We've still improved our technical results. Just to give you an idea, in wean to finish in the last months of the year, October, November, December, we're below 4% both at weaning and slaughter.

Are there any challenges duBreton faces, and how do you overcome them?

One of our ongoing challenges is maintaining the ideal flesh condition of our pigs. With over 11 maternity units, we face complexities in managing back fat levels. But we find that the use of modern monitoring systems to keep track of environmental conditions and water and feed consumption allows us to make quick interventions when needed. Our advice to others is not to fear change, be innovative, and prioritize the well-being of the animals – they will repay you with improved performance and results.

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