Know How / Pigs

Whether indoor or outdoor, modern British pig production has evolved to high levels of technical performance and efficiency to cope in a huge pork market. Find out more about key management areas, information on issues such as welfare, consumer demands and antibiotics reduction targets.

Key focus areas:

  • Managing health and welfare
  • Farrowing and youngstock
  • Growing and finishing
  • Genetics and breeding decisions
  • Knowing your cost of production

Pig diseases A-Z

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Case studies

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How a pig feed system is helping cut costs

Installing a new feed system has allowed a pig producer to tailor feeding to individual pens and maximise Feed Conversion Efficiency (FCE). Vet and pig farmer Charlie Thompson took the…


How supplementary milk can improve piglet and sow production

Advances in a sow’s genetic ability to produce more live born piglets are forcing farmers to look at ways to better support the sow and her offspring. With only 12-14…


How a Spanish enrichment system reduces tail biting in pigs

A rotating system of chains which moves hanging pig enrichment material from one pen to another is helping keep tail biting at bay on a Spanish pig farm. At Rosa…


How Norfolk pig farmers cut water use by 50%

Moulded plastic tanks with nipple drinkers have transformed water quality and brought water and labour savings for a Norfolk outdoor pig operation. The team at LSB Pigs, based at East…


What's in Your Livestock Shed? visits a £350,000 pig unit

A new pig unit at a Welsh college farm is thought to be the first in the UK to integrate every stage of production under one roof. Not only has…


How new entrants raised pig conception and weaning weights

Simple tips learned through a training course have enabled one pig farming couple to boost sow conception rates, raise weaning weights and cut finishing times by 10 days a pig.…

Practical advice

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The options for getting into pig farming

The Welsh government and the European Union are investing £1.29m to support and develop the pig sector in Wales. With Wales only 5% self-sufficient in pigmeat the government believes opportunities…


Top tips to pass a pig farm assurance scheme audit

While regular audits are routine on UK pig farms, some pork producers can expect more frequent visits in future after Red Tractor introduced tougher compliance standards. Red Tractor assured pig…


Erysipelas in pigs: detection, treatment and prevention

Erysipelas is a bacterial infection of pigs that usually causes red lesions on the skin, fever, depressed appetite and in some cases, arthritis, reproductive issues and septicemia. Quick and effective…


4 early signs of tail biting to watch for on pig farms

Once a tail-biting outbreak happens, it can be hard to control. Identifying the early signs of tail biting and knowing how to act upon them can help prevent it. Keeping…


What tougher tail docking inspections mean for pig farmers

Tail biting in pigs is a welfare issue that causes pain, possible infection and loss of performance. For this reason, although tail docking is not legally permitted in the UK…


A guide to ASF and how to minimise the risk on your pig farm

African Swine Fever (ASF) is spreading westwards across Europe and has recently been detected in wild boar populations just across the channel, in Belgium. Amid warnings of potentially dire consequences…


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5 minutes with... Mixed Farmer of the Year Matthew Brownlee

It's been a whirlwind few months for the Farmers Weekly Award winners – 15 extraordinary farmers, advisers, contractors and farmworkers who last year received one of farming's highest accolades recognising…


5 minutes with... Pig Farmers of the Year the Mutimers

It's been a whirlwind few months for the Farmers Weekly Award winners - 15 extraordinary farmers, advisers, contractors and farmworkers who last year received one of farming's highest accolades recognising…


Red Tractor's new inspection regime - what you need to know

Red Tractor is increasing the number of unannounced inspections on farms that fall short of its standards, using a new risk-based inspection regime which will start in November 2018.  Currently…


Q&A: Pig housing - balcony systems explained

Balcony systems can offer a practical housing solution for pig units by increasing floor space within the footprint of existing sheds. Few of these systems exist in the UK but…


Scientists produce pigs resistant to respiratory syndrome

Scientists have produced pigs that can resist porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) by changing their genetic code. PRRS is an endemic disease and costs the pig industry about £1.75bn/year…


Buoyant pig market helps UK producers stay in profit

A stable price, improving performance and market demand are all painting a positive picture for pig production in 2018. The UK pig market has been through a period of stability,…


How pig breeding tech could help cut disease-related costs

Breeding technologies which help pigs become genetically healthier and less susceptible to illness could help the UK pork sector reduce antibiotics use and save millions of pounds every year. Losses in…


Antibiotics reports spark debate in farm industry

Campaigners pushing for a dramatic reduction in farm antibiotics use have set out a series of recommendations that they claim would reduce consumption in the dairy, pig and poultry sectors.…


The future of pig breeding: 2030 and beyond

When it comes to developments in the pig sector, selective breeding and estimated breeding values are held up as two of the technologies which revolutionised the industry. However, the latest…


Alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters for pigs

Since the use of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) was banned in the EU in 2006, there’s been growing interest in alternatives that can reduce the impact of pig disease and…

Feeding pigs silage offers sustainability gains

Growing and finishing traditional breed pigs on a grass silage total mixed ration (TMR) is a cost-effective way to produce a high-welfare product, research on an Oxfordshire farm shows. Trials…

UK v Denmark: How pig producers compare

Can UK pig production be compared with the Danish and what lessons can be learned from our Danish counterparts? Many UK pig producers look to the Danish for ideas when…


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Video: Mechanised rising crate floor cuts pig mortality

A Lincolnshire farm has seen piglet mortality fall as low as 0.5% in farrowing houses through investment in mechanised, sow-activated, crate flooring. When farm manager Ian Smith started working at…

Jimmy Doherty stars in Channel 4 OD pork campaign

TV presenter and pig farmer Jimmy Doherty will star in three short films on Channel 4 On Demand to raise consumer awareness about British pork. The three-minute films, which will…

Poultry videos: Reducing carbon footprint and Lord Rooker faces ...

Details of a new project that identifies the total carbon footprint of pig and poultry products were revealed on the first day of the British Pig and Poultry Fair at…

Pig farmers step up campaigning activities

Hundred of pig farmers are preparing for a rally in Westminster on Mar 3 as part of a campaign to get retailers to pass on a fairer price for pork…