Collaborative pig project a success

More than 50 representatives from the pig industry attended the first Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Pork Focus meeting on 20 June.

The purpose of the event was to show delegates around a host unit, and give them the opportunity to discuss what they had seen and suggest changes they would like to see implemented, with the aim of returning in October to review the farm’s progress.

“I think it’s important that we get out on farm and learn from each other,” commented David Goodier (photographed), who opened up his farm for the project.

“So many of our European counterparts are doing this already and reaping the rewards of working together. I believe we should follow their lead.”

Charlotte Evans, technical manager at AHDB Pork, said: “We started the day at Ribby Hall and David had the chance to introduce his business to the group. We then kitted up to adhere to biosecurity measures and headed off to the unit by coach. Upon arrival, the group was split into four and taken on a guided tour of the holding, focusing on: farrowing, growing, finishing and service.

“With 15 minutes at each stage, the groups had the opportunity to understand the management of each component and the detail of any issues the unit was facing.”

Upon the group’s return to Ribby Hall, they were provided with the chance to discuss what they considered to be the biggest on-farm challenges.

“There were lots of ideas put forward and, once everyone had their input, a shortlist was drawn up,” added Evans. “The main issues for David’s farm were deemed to be: pre-weaning mortality, aggression in the weaners, sudden death in the finishers and water availability.

“We’ll now work with David and the relevant business stakeholders to implement measures to counteract some of the challenges faced by the unit. The plan is to come back together as a group on 17 October, review progress and assess other areas of the business that need support.”

The levy board hopes that the industry can learn from the trial and error approach of the project.

For producers who were unable to attend the farm visit, a video and photo story will be available on the AHDB Pork website. There will also be a webinar on 3 October to recap on the project’s progress ahead of the next meeting.

All members of the industry are welcome to get involved at any stage to join the open discussion.

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