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Collaborative pig project kicks off

Over 50 producers and allied industry representatives attended the first AHDB Pork Focus Farm meeting.

David-Goodier

David Goodier

Over 50 producers and allied industry representatives attended the first AHDB Pork Focus Farm meeting. Delegates visited the host unit, spent time discussing what they had seen, and then suggested changes they would like to see implemented, with the aim of coming back together in October to review the farm’s progress.

Opening up his farm for the project, David Goodier says he hopes everyone who attended took something useful away from the first meeting.

“I think it’s important that we get out on farm and learn from each other. So many of our European counterparts are doing this already and reaping the rewards of working together. I believe we should follow their lead.”

Charlotte Evans, technical innovation manager at AHDB Pork, says that the meeting was an exceptional success. “It was a first-of-its-kind project for English pig producers and to see everyone get together was really exciting,” she adds.

Ribby-Hall-pork-focus

Once the group returned to Ribby Hall, there was an opportunity for them to openly discuss what they considered to be the biggest on-farm challenges

“We started the day at Ribby Hall and David had the chance to introduce his business to the group. We then kitted up to adhere to the biosecurity measures and headed off to the unit by coach. Upon arrival, the group was split into four and taken on a guided tour of the holding, focusing on: farrowing, growing, finishing and service.

“With 15 minutes at each stage, the groups had the opportunity to understand the management of each component and the detail of any issues the unit was facing.”

Once the group returned to Ribby Hall, there was an opportunity for them to openly discuss what they considered to be the biggest on-farm challenges.

“There were lots of ideas put forward and, once everyone had their input, a shortlist was drawn up. The main issues for David’s farm were deemed to be: pre-weaning mortality, aggression in the weaners, sudden death in the finishers and water availability,” explains Charlotte.

“We’ll now work with David and the relevant business stakeholders to implement measures to counteract some of the challenges faced by the unit. The plan is to come back together as a group on 17 October, review progress and assess other areas of the business that need support.”

It is hoped that producers and allied industry can learn from the trial and error approach of the project.

“For producers who couldn’t make the farm visit, a video and photo story will be available on the AHDB Pork website, there will also be a webinar on 3 October to recap on the project’s progress ahead of the meeting.”

Charlotte reminds producers that this is an industry-led project, and that farmers, vets and industry experts are encouraged to get involved at any stage to join the open discussion around the challenges that are faced by the pig industry.

To find out more about the Focus Farm project, visit: http://pork.ahdb.org.uk/research-innovation/focus-farm/

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