EU PiG Newsletter July 2017

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Hi, this is the second newsletter of the EU PiG project.  It provides an update on activity involved in news and events, and in particular, the development of best practices linked to participation in the 2017 EU PiG Grand Prix competition.  In addition, it highlights opportunity for producers to suggest the  challenges that could be considered as part of the 2018 Grand Prix.

I hope the information is of interest and useful, but you are also welcome to consider and contribute to the discussion group on Linked-In and comment through the EU PiG Twitter page.

Steve Bradley
EU PiG Innovation Group

Feedback on recent news & events…

Some updates and reviews have been posted on the recent events mentioned on the EU PiG events page, with links to further information where available, that include:

  • EPP Congress, Stavanger, 24-26 May

  • Teagasc Annual Research Dissemination Days, 29 – 31 May

  • PIGS 2022, 6 – 7 June

The UK best practice entries to the EU PiG Grand Prix competition were highlighted at PIGS 2022…

At the Pigs 2022 conference, where project partner AHDB had a stand, there was a great opportunity to discuss EU PiG with producers and industry contacts. One producer noted EU PiG could bring similar benefits to going on a study tour to farms, “Producers usually learn something valuable from other pig units, and EU PiG project provides an easy and practical way to learn best practice directly from producers across Europe.”

Also at the event, pig producer Matt Donald (pictured centre) won the UK Innovative Producer Award for his plastic ‘mouse board’ design, which is placed on retaining walls under slatted floors to make them easier to wash clean, and prevent mice climbing up into the building.

The mouse board is one of many practical examples of the whole farm’s ethos to improve both hygiene, and the longevity of buildings.  Matt submitted three examples of best practice to the first EU PiG Grand Prix, and this Innovative Producer award recognises the best from the UK entries, that have been included with all the other entries from across the EU for consideration, which are now being judged to determine the final winning producers.

Speaking about the EU PiG project, AHDB’s Charlotte Evans (pictured on the right, with Alistair Driver on the left) said, “It’s about connecting producers and sharing tried and tested best practice and innovations and aims to raise the competitiveness of the European pig industry. The initiative has got off to a great start this summer with 248 producers from across Europe entering the first EU PiG Grand Prix contest with ideas and examples of best practice from their farms.
All the entries are being judged at the moment and will be narrowed down to eight winners who will be awarded the title of 'EU PiG Ambassador'. The Grand Prix and the Ambassadors are the main way for pig producers to get involved and fly the flag for their country, showing the rest of Europe the best of what they have to offer. Look out for the results at the end of the summer
The winning Ambassadors will be invited to showcase their best practice in a range of ways, including talking to producers out and about in the industry. The EU PiG network will help produce videos, photos and reports, made widely available to all on the EU PiG website.

How to get  involved in the Grand Prix?

The EU Grand Prix will run every year to help identify best practice in each of the chosen eight EU PiG challenges. There will be two new challenges for each of the project’s four key themes every year. This year they are as shown in the chart, and all producers are currently invited to suggest what they think the challenges should be for 2018: please get in touch with suggestions via contact details below by the end of July 2017.


All European pig producers can get involved in several ways:

  • Visit the EU PiG website for information on best practice from across Europe and sign up to receive the newsletter.

  • Enter the annual EU PiG Grand Prix, and have the opportunity to become an Ambassador

  • Suggest challenges that need addressing, or contribute best practice from your farm.


Some more information about sharing practical tips and best practices by producers themselves…

Farm manager Wayne Connell has shared some of the practical steps he has taken to help reduce pre-weaning mortality, ranging from regular cleaning of crates to recording and supplementary feeding. He picked up the ideas while spending time in the farrowing house on a study trip to one of JSR Farm Ltd units as part of AHDB Pork’s ‘Focus Farm Initiative’.   Read more about Wayne’s tips on farrowing house management, on AHDB’s website.

It’s just one of the areas that fellow pig producers and members of the allied industry have discussed with farmer David Goodier and his team on the 250-sow unit in Lancashire, in the north west of England, as part of the Focus Farm initiative. The initiative aims to help improve physical and financial performance on units through knowledge exchange between producers. Improving the service area, distribution of water, and building ventilation, have also been up for consideration to help improve performance. Pigs have now gone into the farm’s newly built finisher accommodation while, in the breeding herd, the timing of insemination is being adjusted to see if litter size can be improved, especially in more mature sows. Click Focus Farm initiative for more information.

There is more practical advice available on the AHDB site too, which includes a range of short video clips that demonstrate practical management techniques on farms.  Written, commentated and demonstrated by industry experts, they show stockmen and managers how to complete important everyday tasks to help boost their pig production.

Finally... who knew ?

According to an article in the Teagasc newsletter in May, apparently, ‘…the sows udder fills within 35 minutes, so intervals of only 35 minutes between suckling bouts are optimal’. There’s lots more about, milk and colostrum quality, epigenetic impact on the progeny,low stress handling of pigs, and other examples of good practices, including available in the newsletter too from page 6 onwards.








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Exchanging knowledge, sharing innovation. Action to improve the pig industry.

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EU PiG Grand Prix

A contest to identify best practice in each of the project's four thematic areas.

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