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

Find a disease

Case studies

See all


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.…


How contract finishing pigs can provide security for your farm

For Claire and David Saxby, of Buxton, Derbyshire, the idea to start contract finishing pigs came about five years ago when they were introduced to British Quality Pigs (BQP) straw-based…


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…


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.…

Practical advice

See all


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…


Expert tips for reducing feed waste on your pig farm

Feed accounts for around 70% of costs on pig farms but producers could trim this if they tackled wastage from inefficiencies and poor feed management.  An AHDB Pork study estimates…


See all


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…


What EU ammonia rules could mean for UK pig producers

UK ammonia targets are under negotiation and if reductions are implemented it could cause extra pressure for pig producers and livestock farmers. Nigel Penlington, head of research, development and knowledge…

Pig genetics can help select specific traits for the future

Pigs of the future will not only be more efficient, but more robust and tastier. Pig breeding priorities are changing with sow aggression and taste emerging as leading traits. Alongside…


See all


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…

Video reveals 'shocking truth' about imported pork

MPs were last night shown footage which questions the systems used to produce cheap pork imports. In a eye-opening video constructed by animal welfare campaigner Tracy Worcester, MPs, farm leaders…

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…

New Zealand comes up with 'Stand by your lamb'

The presenters of a daily radio farming programme in New Zealand have recorded a song in response to British pig farmers’ version of ‘Stand by your Ham’. Hosts of The Farming…