17 November 1995

No aid for stall &tether conversion

MINISTER of State at MAFF, Tony Baldry, has refused to provide grant aid to help pig producers convert from stalls and tethers (see News). But while that may be the final straw for many producers, some have already begun to convert systems.

One such producer is Keith Shea of Preston, Lancs. His 265-sow breeder finisher unit has been changed fundamentally in order to comply with, and survive, the ban.

"Sow numbers will have been cut from 300 to 240 once the whole farm is converted to the more extensive system," says Mr Shea.

To maintain production levels from fewer sows Mr Shea has introduced Meishan bloodlines and increased piglet numbers born from 11.4 to 12.9 a litter. And the use of three leased Nurtinger nursery units to foster weak piglets has seen mortality rates fall.

Of the 450 piglets through the units so far we have lost 15 (3%).