BPEX blog

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Making the Pig Industry Professional Register work on farm

Pig producers who are giving ‘in-house’ training to staff on farm can become registered trainers on the Pig Industry Professional Register (PIPR) – to ensure they get credit for all the training and development they do. 

This is something many have not been aware of until now and it can also help producers provide a record of the training they do to comply with the recommendations of assurance schemes.

In-house training sessions could include training staff on the unit’s standard operating procedures (SOP) or using the BPEX Practical Pig App. All of these can be registered as training sessions so participants can earn PIPR points.

PIPR is the pig industry’s own continuous professional development (CPD) scheme, established to recognise professionalism and encourage lifelong learning to build on the existing skills in the pig industry. Members collect points through skills and knowledge acquisition both on-farm and through external training providers. So PIPR provides a record of achievement, independently accredited and recognised industry wide. 

Pig producers can register as a trainer by completing the Trainers Register Application form on the PIPR website, by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the page. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Getting to grips with data can have big impact on productivity


Our year-long BPEX field trial on recording and making better sense of data will soon be complete and we will be discussing the results with other producers at local pig club meetings.

Danish pig consultant and ex production manager, Sanne Baden, of Pig Improvements Ltd, has been visiting six different pig units on a quarterly basis to help make sure pig performance data is entered into recording systems accurately and interpret the management reports to help figure out whether and where change is needed.

Pigs weaned per sow per year on producer Tim Blanchard's unit have increased from 24.7 to 27.9 due to a number of factors, including a 10% increase in conception rate, improved parity profile and a 2.2% reduction in pre-weaning mortality.

When data highlighted pre-weaning mortality as an area to improve, Tim’s farrowing house staff started recording some additional information on cause and age of piglet death. They found that many were happening in the first 24 hours and it was often because piglets were cold, therefore going under the sow and being laid on.

Tim now synchronizes farrowing and has employed an extra full-time person to help manage the extra attention needed by farrowing larger numbers born and has reduced the pre-weaning mortality down to 6%. From looking at ages of piglet death, Tim was able to identify what likely impact staff would have in the farrowing house.

Feel free to contact me or your regional knowledge transfer manager for help with data interpretation.

Monday, 3 February 2014

BPEX on-farm reviews provide 'fresh pair of eyes'


A ‘fresh pair of eyes’ is useful on any pig unit, whether they have a lot of challenges to address or performance is already quite good. BPEX’s on-farm reviews can provide producers with additional help and experience to improve performance or to tackle a particular issue. A short visit report is written afterwards for the producer and shared with the unit's vet.

When one East Anglian unit requested a farm review visit, I was able to discuss with him possible ways to reduce problems with ‘greasy pig’. I suggested applying dry disinfectant, in just one farrowing room on days 6, 8 and 10, to see if it helped. The BPEX health team is also providing some help and information on swabbing pig pens for bacteria and disinfection.

Something else I found interesting was that the unit is not using injectable iron, but an iron powder, which is offered to the piglets on days 3, 7, and 10 and, so far, no piglets are suffering with anaemia. We often pick up different ideas and practices like this when we go on farm and it all adds to the knowledge and experience that, as a knowledge transfer team, we can share with other producers.

Go to: www.bpex.org.uk/2ts/contact.aspx