Pig farming best practices
The EU PiG project seeks to share the benefits of producer best practice to promote a sustainable pig industry across the EU. On-farm best practice is identified through a novel Grand Prix contest. As the project develops, this website will share the award-winning best practice with the whole industry.
The main way EU PiG identifies best practice is through its Grand Prix, an annual EU-wide contest, with more than 300 producers competing to be one of eight EU PiG Ambassadors. It identifies the top example of best practice for each of the eight EU PiG challenges chosen each year.
Please see below the best practices of the 2017 EU PiG Ambassadors. The 2018 winning Ambassadors have recently been announced and a summary for each of their best practices are available here. Further information will be provided in the near future.
Improved pig health and productivity, along with lower antibiotic consumption and costs, are the results of using a water purification system and ensuring adequate access to water.
Producer Niels Aage Arve receives a price premium by marketing his pork under the ‘Heart Pig’ welfare brand.
Farmer Aage Lauritzen of Denmark has achieved a 5% increase in daily live weight gain and reduced total production costs, since investing in a weighing system to record growing and fattening pigs’ live weight on a weekly basis. The information is used to monitor pigs’ growth, so he can compare it with the expected growth and then choose the appropriate feed mix.
The risk of boar taint can be reduced to almost zero by selecting particular terminal line boars for artificial insemination. Use of these ‘odour-tested’ sires will help farmers ensure the marketability of pork and, in future, avoid monetary deductions for conspicuous odours in boar carcasses.
Dutch farmer Kees van der Meijden has achieved the enviable goal of reducing antibiotic use to almost zero, while at the same time, improving pig performance; the farm is producing 33 piglets per sow per year.
Spanish farmer Ramon Armengol has a 720-sow, farrow-to-finish ‘closed unit’ producing entire males. Aware of the risks of boar taint and possible welfare issues associated with this, he has introduced several different systems to address them – the results including lower production costs per kilo.
Producer Eugene Sheehan from Ireland has reduced pig production costs per kg slaughter weight by 9.3% and lowered antibiotic use by 90%, having been the first to use a new biosecurity scoring tool, Biocheck.UGent ®.
Tail docking has been banned in Finland since 2003, so the Sikana Oy farm rears its 2,980 finisher pigs with intact tails and uses a number of practical measures to ensure they comply with legislation and maintain both welfare and productivity.