BPEX blog

Monday, 26 September 2011

Recovery pens a top topic for stockmen

Stockmen got started on the first BPEX Stockman Development Programme for the south, with 16 people attending the session in Wiltshire group and another seven in Oxford.

There was a thirst for knowledge, particularly on recovery pen design and how to improve it. Click here for more information in 2TS Action for Productivity no. 15: Recovery pen management.

Vet Julia James, from Larkmead practice, led the training on veterinary and medicine management, covering everything from pathogen types to administering medicines.

Two other Stockman Development Programmes are now open for registration:

Stockman Development Lincolnshire (new for this year) will be held at Uncle Henry’s, Grayingham, Lincolnshire, with the first workshop on 18 October 2011. Contact Angela Cliff: 07967 788484 or angela.cliff@bpex.ahdb.org.uk

Stockman Development North will be held at Sandburn Hall, Flaxton, York, with the first workshop on 2 November 2011. Contact Lis Ravn: 07891 656784 or Lisbeth.ravn@bpex.ahdb.org.uk

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Pigs need more looking after when it’s cold

Finisher pig producers have come up with a practical ‘to do’ list in readiness for the winter months, during a good discussion with vet Janet Owen, from Garth Partnership.

Janet told the Easey Finisher Pig Club just how much extra attention pigs need during cold weather. You need to ensure they get up five or six times each day, otherwise they will just huddle and not eat, drink or pee. Cold weather stresses pigs and stress can make them ill!

The group’s list checklist includes:

• Adjust vents • Block draughts • Plenty of straw • Lag water pipes • Check roof gutters • Check bins for leaks • Organise mould curb • Prepare for water supply in frost – what to do if water freezes

From last year’s experience, it was suggested that putting heaters (oil radiators) next to the water pump could stop it from freezing. One producer also pointed out that, if you turn your tap on to stop water freezing, you need to turn it on properly – not just a little bit or it won’t help.

Another found that covering his water pipes in straw and draining all the water pipes every evening prevented his water system from freezing up last year. Water then needs to be switched back on in the morning.

And, for breeding herds, there is more information on preparing for autumn here.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Huge numbers sign up for pig health scheme

Nearly 800 pig units have now signed up to free BPEX Pig Health Scheme (BPHS) membership, which is approximately 50% of all assured units.

All 785 BPHS members are also Pig Health Improvement Project (PHIP) members, having jointly registered for both schemes via the new sign-up process.

The BPHS provides members with post-mortem health data, with checks carried out by specialist vets when producers submit pigs to participating abattoirs. It helps producers and vets to monitor and assess the health condition of stock.

The health report sent back to producers gives them a picture of their overall herd health which they can then discuss with their vet to tackle any issues promptly.

It includes sub-clinical disease which is not always easy to spot on farm, but still affects performance. That’s why we want producers to take advantage of BPHS and to use it to inform what they do on farm as part of the Pig Health Improvement Project.

For BPHS information click here and, for PHIP, click here.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Charlotte West to cover the south

Welcome to Charlotte West, our new Knowledge Transfer (KT) Manager for the South of England. Charlotte took up the post on Monday, taking over from Helen Thoday who has a new job in the Falklands.

Charlotte, who lives in Wiltshire, was the BPEX Veterinary Project Manager responsible for developing the regional health programmes before taking up her new position.

She has practical experience of pig production and, before joining BPEX, she worked on a 1,000 sow breeding herd.

Charlotte said: “I am very much looking forward to working in the area and helping to deliver the BPEX 2TS programme and the range of KT services in the South.”

Anybody who would like to contact her can do so by phone on 07973 701202 or by email, charlotte.west@bpex.ahdb.org.uk. And we'll look forward to blog updates from Charlotte on activities in the South this autumn.