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

Case studies

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PIGS

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…

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,…

MEDICINES

How one UK pig producer is managing without zinc oxide

Zinc oxide is to be phased out of pig diets by 2022 under new EU rules. We spoke to one UK producer to find out how he is already managing…

Practical advice

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FEED AND NUTRITION

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…

LIVESTOCK

UK African Swine Fever risk level raised after new outbreaks

The government has raised the risk status of African Swine Fever (ASF) entering the UK after the latest outbreak in eastern Europe saw 180,000 pigs culled. Almost 750 confirmed cases…

MEDICINES

5 steps to reduce antibiotics use in your pig herd 

Having a low level of antibiotics use of 1mg/population-corrected unit (PCU) – compared with the industry average of 131 mg/PCU (2017) – may seem like a hard task, but for…

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…

Insights

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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…

PIGS

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…

LIVESTOCK

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.…

LIVESTOCK

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…

PIGS

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…

Video

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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…

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…

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…

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…