BPEX blog

Friday, 29 July 2011

Lorry wash project gathers pace

A very successful meeting was held last night in Derbyshire as part of the East Midlands Pig Health project (EMPH), following in the footsteps of the Eastern Pig Health (EPH) meeting held in the spring.

Peter Kettlewell and Eddie Harper, both livestock haulage consultants, presented to a group of 25 people including producers, hauliers, marketing groups and processors.

The meeting covered important issues surrounding biosecurity when hauling pigs to slaughter and included positive discussions on cost of lorry wash facilities to abattoirs, cost to hauliers if they have to wash out somewhere else and the cost producers face if they break down with swine dysentery.

One thing was clear from the meeting: all sectors of the industry are serious about tackling lorry washing facilities and haulage standards and change is now afoot to make sustainable, long term improvements.

The lorry wash project will come to the south west on 20 September and to Yorkshire on 29 September. If you have any queries or want to be involved please contact Katrin Turvey (pictured).

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The cost of empty days

Do you know what an 'empty' day costs you? If not, try using this equation to work it out..

Cost per sow-day =

Total annual breeding herd expenditure / (productive sows x 365)

Cost of reproductive failure =

Cost per sow-day X empty days per annum / pigs born alive (sold) per sow per year

Myself and Colin spent some time discussing the financial impact of empty days and wanted to provide a simple way to quantify the cost.

Click on 'Comments' below to let us know if what you calculate is similar or different to what you expected.

There's also more information and advice in 2TS Action for Productivity 26 - Improving Key Peformance Indicators: Breeding Herd

Friday, 15 July 2011

Ways to minimise boar taint risk

Advice on controlling boar taint in pork has just been published as part of our Target Pork Quality factsheet series.

Boar taint is an odour or flavour which is offensive to some people if they detect it when cooking or eating pork or pork products. It is important that producers minimise the risk of boar taint to ensure they produce consistent, high quality pork and pigmeat products for consumers.

The odour or flavour is a result of high concentrations of androstenone and/or skatole in the meat. Androsterone is a natural sex pheromone found in boars and skatole is a by-product of digestion in the pig.

The BPEX factsheet highlights a number of areas that pig producers can manage to minimise the risk of boar taint, including:
- pig pen hygiene
- ventilation
- dietary fibre – increasing fibre content can help
- dietary protein – avoid feeding excessive protein
- age for weight – achieve target pig weight at a younger age
Plus there is information on technologies in the pipeline that may help control boar taint in future.

For a copy of Target Pork Quality No.6: Boar taint and its control click here or call 02476 478 792.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Camaraderie and a career in pigs

The first BPEX Stockman Development Programme for the East ended this week with our final workshop and awards evening.

From my own personal view, this has been some of the most rewarding work I have been involved with since joining BPEX two years ago.

Within Stockman Development East I have witnessed team camaraderie, professionalism and an enthusiastic interest shown in making our industry a career choice that will hopefully secure everyone in the group with jobs of responsibility.

Stockman East 2010 was developed for pig stockmen looking to develop their career and looking for possible promotion in the future.

Well done to everyone on the programme and a particular mention for Roxanne Rogers (pictured) of Bacton Pigs who received the Trainee of the Year award for the course.

We also presented Ian Gillies at Rattlerow Farms with a Trainee of the Year award for his achievements on the BPEX/Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Development Programme which also ran this year.

Click here for more information on pig industry training programmes.