25 July 1997

Guide gives clarity on pig stocking rates

PIG producers must check pen sizes and stocking rates and ensure that low cost stall conversions meet MAFFs interpretation of EU welfare legislation.

ADAS pig business consultant David Moorhouse says that a new MAFF guide to the EU legislation explains how space allowances – implemented from Jan 1 1998 – will be put into practice.

According to Mr Moorhouse, a MAFF amendment of the EU legislation on space allowances, could save thousands of pounds.

"If left unchanged the allowances would have imposed rising space requirements for pigs of increasing liveweight in a series of large steps from Jan 1, 1998.

"Producers would have had to move pigs when the legislation dictated requiring an extra 25% of accommodation on some units," says Mr Moorhouse.

"But MAFF has converted the steps into a gradually increasing line. This means while producers will still have to adjust stocking rates the large investments required may not be necessary," he says.

The guide also provides rules on low cost stall conversions, where stall backs are removed and sows turned out into passageways (see Livestock, June 27).

"Requirements for these conversions are based on the measurements from snout to tail of the largest sow within a group," explains Paula Wigglesworth of Berks-based Cambac Research.

"In houses with stalls sited back-to-back there must be three pig lengths from the trough at the head of the stall to the trough at the head of the opposing stall.

"The pen area between the stalls must be the square of the length of the biggest pig in the pen. So a pig measuring 2m requires 4m sq of space," she says.n