AHDB’s Pig Health Scheme set to return in autumn 

AHDB’s Pig Health Scheme will return this autumn with an enhanced benchmarking feature, following a coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

Under the free-to-join scheme, assessors monitor English pigs at slaughter for the prevalence and severity of 12 different conditions.

This enables pig producers and their vets to track the health of their herd, with data being used to inform management changes to reduce levels of disease.

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Pig Health Scheme assessments were suspended in March 2020 for 18 months due to the increasing pressures faced by plants and assessors. The plan is for a phased return of the scheme at several plants later this autumn.

AHDB animal health and welfare scientist Lauren Turner said: “The industry put a huge effort into navigating the early stages of the pandemic and coping under extreme strain, but we know from talking to producers just how many are keen to start receiving herd health data once more.”

Next steps

Throughout September and October, refresher courses will be delivered for assessors. Ten assessors are already available to help with the scheme, but AHDB hopes to bolster numbers with an additional seven appointments. Full training will be provided by VetScore.

Assessment dates will be dependent on the refresher training and initial quality assurance visits, but details will be shared online and in AHDB’s e-newsletter – Pork Weekly – as soon as they are available.

Since it will have been some time since producers received a Pig Health Scheme report, AHDB is encouraging producers to refresh themselves with their guide. This outlines what to do when you receive your report and how to interpret the data.

AHDB has introduced a new benchmarking feature. This will enable producers and vets to quickly and easily see where their farm sits in comparison to the national herd. This will be available after the first quarter of data collection.

Anyone wishing to sign up for the scheme can do so quickly and easily via their pig hub account or by emailing PHS@ahdb.org.uk.

For more information about the scheme, including when and where assessments will be taking place, see the Pig Health Scheme page