Double in pigawards
TOP performing pig herds were recognised at last weeks PIC-Intervet Awards, for the best indoor herd, best sustained three year performance, best outdoor herd and best finishing herd.
Winner of both best indoor herd and sustained three year performance – a double win for the second consecutive year – was J C Lister Farms, Top Farm, Retford, Notts.
The 550-sow unit produced 29.7 pigs/sow/year from an average 2.51 litters, with 12.8 pigs born alive a litter. Pre-weaning mortality was only 6.5%. Manager, David Wedgewood, believes the units success is down to good observation.
"I started to notice sows becoming frisky a day before they were expected on heat. Now we check them all early, and each week find some are ready to be served before we expect them to be."
The best outdoor performance award went to Roger and Judith Shapland, of Top Way Pigs, Taunton, Somerset.
The unit supports 270 Manor Meishan sows which rear an average of 24.91 pigs each year. Pigs are finished indoors and have an average daily liveweight gain of 653g.
For best finishing herd award winner, Myles Boddington, plenty of space, permitting regular cleaning, and low stress levels lie behind a daily liveweight gain of 702g, feed conversion efficiency of 2.21 and cost/kg liveweight gain of 37p.
"Having plenty of space means pigs can stay in groups of 20 and the fighting element is kept low. Low stress enhances performance," says Mr Boddington.
Improving performance from 24.05 pigs reared/sow/year to 26.78 pigs reared/sow/year netted Reaseheath College the most improved herd award.
Keeping a close eye on individual sow nutrition has been key to improving output, believes stockman, Peter Barton.
Winners were selected from 600 herds, which complete and submit breeding, feeding and financial records to PIC.