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

Advice and tips

FARROWING

Tips for improving piglet survival

Within the UK indoor pig herd, the average pre-weaning mortality rate for piglets is 11.68%.  Luchia Gregson from AHDB’s pork knowledge exchange team provides some tips to help piglets and…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Expert tips on reducing heat stress in pigs

Hot weather can severely curtail growth in finishing pigs by suppressing their appetite and also reduce farrowing rates in the breeding herd by as much as 25%. With UK temperatures…

STAFF MANAGEMENT

5 tips for improving staff retention on your pig unit

The UK pig industry is making good progress with improving staff retention rates but attractive salaries alone won’t necessarily help businesses hold onto their best employees. Incentives including additional paid…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Tips on improving water quality for pigs

There are big opportunities to achieve better pig health and growth through simple changes to water systems, with potential yet to be fully explored on many units. Pigs need ready…

See all

Archive

LIVESTOCK

Farmer Focus: Cost of production model was a no brainer

Pig farming has always been considered to be a boom and bust industry.  In March 2016 the Standard Pig Price hit a 112.07p/kg low (with costs at around 130p/kg), while…

FARMER FOCUS

Farmer Focus: Ladies in Pigs need levy support from AHDB

I am writing this column on a Sunday evening at the end of a farrowing week. The numbers stand at 96 sows farrowed, 13.88 born alive a sow, mortality at…

FARMER FOCUS

Farmer Focus: Dealing with new environmental permits

Running a 380-sow pig unit would, in normal circumstances, put us under the 750-sow threshold for which an environmental permit is required.  However, because we have two poultry farms in…

FARMER FOCUS

Farmer Focus: We have acted on antibiotics problem

Well, I must say I feel a complete cheat writing this column sat by a pool in Italy with a cold beer by my side. I am very privileged to…

See all

Case studies

PIGS

How a pig farmer has lowered production costs by 3.8p/kg

Lancashire pig farmer David Goodier has reduced his cost of production by 3.8p/kg deadweight, by improving sow performance and reducing mortality. Mr Goodier, from Greenhalgh, Preston, became AHDB Pork’s pilot…

PIGS

The challenges of pig farming in South Africa

South Africa, a land known for its tropical weather and miles of dry terrain, is hardly conducive to pig farming, with everything from temperature fluctuation to farm security to consider.…

PIGS

How integration works on one US pig farm

Set in the heart of the US corn belt, Iowa is a farming mecca. Mile after mile of maize and soya bean fields make this an ideal place for pig…

LIVESTOCK

How Dutch farmers reduced antibiotics use by 60%

Strict regulation has more than halved Dutch antibiotics use in recent years as a new era in farm health planning and probiotics has driven livestock systems. More frequent veterinary visits,…

See all

Community

FARMER FOCUS

Farmer Focus: Heatwave could be costing us 1.5kg in growers

In typical British and farmer fashion, it would only be right to start with the weather. I mentioned last month that the heat hadn’t had a big effect on growth…

FARMER FOCUS

Farmer Focus: Heatwave could require special sow diet

We’re now into our sixth week with little or no rain and temperatures in the high twenties. These high temperatures are starting to have an accumulative effect on us and…

LIVESTOCK

Farmer Focus: New rations seem to be doing the job

Back in February I talked about the astounding weights we achieved out of Batch G, in which the bacon pigs averaged 90kg deadweight (117.7kg live) at 157 days old, thereby…

LIVESTOCK

Farmer Focus: Defra should incentivise reinvestment in pigs

On our way back from the England v Wales game, two of my pig farming mates gave me a bit of stick. In my February column I said we sold…

See all

Insights

PIGS

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

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…

LIVESTOCK

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,…

FARMER FOCUS

Farmer Focus: African swine fever meeting had scary message

I was at a meeting just before Christmas where a woman from AHDB Pork pointed out the dangers of African swine fever (ASF). I must say I found it very…

See all

News

LIVESTOCK

Royal Welsh Show 2018: Pig interbreed results

In the Royal Welsh Show’s pig ring, last year’s reserve interbreed champion British Lop returned to claim the top spot. It followed a tally of wins for Cornish pig breeder…

PIGS

Welsh pig industry to benefit from £1.29m project

The Welsh pig sector is set to benefit from £1.29m of funding aimed at growing the industry and capitalising on opportunities post Brexit. The investment will come from the Welsh…

LIVESTOCK

PRRS diagnosis at record levels, government vets warn

Record-breaking quarterly figures for the diagnosis porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) in the UK swine herd could be due to better virus survival and transmission rates during the long, wet winter,…

BUSINESS

Carbon dioxide shortage – more disruption likely

The carbon dioxide gas shortage could continue to disrupt the meat-packaging industry for at least two more weeks as supplies slowly return to normal. John Raquet, industry expert and chief…

See all

Test and reviews

LIVESTOCK

6 alternative bedding options to straw compared

Poor weather conditions at harvesting and diminished crop yields on the back of a dry spring, coupled with strong demand from renewable energy plants, have converged to create an unprecedented…

PIGS

10 Danish loose farrowing pens compared

Ten European loose-housed farrowing pens are being assessed for pig, piglet and worker welfare in a world-leading product test. This follows industry targets for 10% of Danish sows to be…

See all

Video

PIGS

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…

LIVESTOCK

Feed prices dominate pig industry challenges

The pig industry will face continued challenges in 2012 but begin to grow during 2013 as improved productivity gains kick in, was the message at Livestock 2012. Feed prices are…

LIVESTOCK

VIDEO: Pig industry on sow stalls ban

Reporting from the British Pig and Poultry Fair 2012, Farmers Weekly's Sarah Trickett speaks to pig industry producers and experts on what the EU sow stalls ban will mean for…

See all