BPEX blog

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

More profit from finishers? Producers decide how…

 The 2TS Finisher Challenge is prompting pig producers to review performance records and set targets for improvements – to achieve full potential and profitability from their finishing herds.  Producers can either actively implement new strategies to improve performance or they might decide not to change anything and simply monitor what happens – it’s up to each producer.

All it takes to enter is to provide a set of data from anytime between 1 January 2012 and now, then another set on 31 September 2012.

Even if they’re not using an electronic recording system, there are some simple ways of calculating the three key performance indicators:

Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR):
Estimate this using the amount of feed purchased in relation to the number of live weight kilograms sold. 

Average Daily Gain (ADG)
Weigh all pigs at every stage or, alternatively, select a room, a litter or 10-20 random pigs of various sizes to weigh just a sample of pigs at each stage. 

Count the number of pigs when they enter a room/building and then keep a record of how many go into the hospital pens, are streamed off, sold or die.

For more details, go to www.bpex.org.uk/2ts/finishing or just contact a knowledge transfer manager to get involved.
Feel free to submit your comments below if you’re trying anything new or have any questions. 

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

English industry hosts ‘EU Hub’

A busy week last week! Ideas and information were coming thick and fast from our European pig industry colleagues at an ‘EU Hub’ meeting hosted by the BPEX knowledge transfer and research and development teams.

Irish and Dutch guests were also joined by Professor Paul Hughes from Australia. It was an informal chance pick up new information that could help pig producers over here improve their businesses.
The topics ranged from breeding herd parity profile to health and PPRS reduction, from new farrowing pen designs to recruiting new staff for pig farms.

Plus, an interesting idea that’s popular in the Netherlands – an internet forum which pig producers can log into to discuss and swap ideas on practical pig topics. Something for the English pig industry perhaps? You can let us know your thoughts by clicking on ‘comments’ below.
The EU Hub followed straight on from the British Pig and Poultry Fair – if you haven’t had a look yet, you can click here to see pictures of what BPEX got up to at the event. 

Friday, 11 May 2012

Room for improvement - pig reproduction priorities

Australian pig expert Professor Paul Hughes highlighted the priorities for improvement in pig reproduction this week at two BPEX Two-Tonne Sow events.
These included: 

1. Gilt management!
  • Too often, producers mate gilts who are not yet cycling properly – thinking that they’re second oestrus animals when, in fact, they are still only at first oestrus.
  • Gilt culling policies need to be stricter. Around 1 in 10 gilts are sub-fertile so producers should focus on good oestrus detection and then cull the last ones to start cycling. Getting rid of poorer gilts at this stage will reduce low fertility throughout the herd.

2. Feeding strategies
3. Understanding exactly what is happening with regular and irregular returns to service

Look out for more information and Paul’s full presentation soon on the news and events pages at www.bpex.org.uk

Paul has many years of pig farming and research experience at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Planning permission – doing the groundwork

The pig industry has suffered from a lack investment in new buildings, mostly in nursery and grower/finisher accommodation. A consequence of this is often poor pig performance and increased production costs.

So, when producers apply for planning permission for new buildings, it’s important to do the groundwork to make sure it goes through smoothly. 

Before applying, they need to:

  • Discuss the planning application with their local planning office
  • Research similar applications to identify previous problems or successes
  • Consider the perspective of neighbours and local residents
  • Ensure all planning application paperwork is completed thoroughly and to a high standard. Anticipate where objections could come from and put solutions in place where appropriate. For example: to improve visual impact, consider a sensitive planting scheme or see if ground-level bins can be used as an alternative to tall bulk bins.
High-quality, fit-for-purpose buildings help producers to:
  • Deliver high standards of animal health and welfare
  • Improve feed use and growth rates
  • Reduce environmental impacts such as release of odour and ammonia
  • Offer opportunities to improve labour
  • Improve energy efficiency
Go to the BPEX Environment Hub for more information. You also contact Anna Davis (pictured)on 0247 647 8798 or anna.davis@bpex.ahdb.org.uk