22 March 2002

Do you have enough land?

OUTDOOR pig producers should start assessing whether they have enough land to cope with sow numbers when NVZ regulations come into force.

George Gittus of Symonds Farm, Great Saxham in Suffolk, says the introduction of NVZs in 1998 had little impact on his outdoor pig stocking rates.

This was because he was rotating 1000 sows over 190ha (470 acres) of arable land. "Total N excretion from outdoor sows a year was averaged out over the whole area."

But the National Pig Associations James Black advises caution. According to the regulations, the 210kg/ha of nitrogen (85kg/acre) limit on arable soils will be met by 11 sows a hectare (4.5/acre) and 9/ha (3.6/acre) will produce 170kg/ha a year of N (68kg N/acre/year), which will be the new limit for arable soils already in NVZs.

"When there is not enough land, producers will either have to get hold of more land or reduce stocking rates," he warns.