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AHDB Pork Blog

Health is King By Richard Bows

undefinedDuring a study tour to Scotland earlier this year, a well-known producer and vet delivered presentations on how a partial de-stock can have significant benefits on lowering the cost of production (CoP) for a pig business.

I found it particularly interesting to hear the producer, Dennis Bridgeford, describe how his unit had been suffering from disease and poor health, what he decided to do about it and the outcome from making changes.

Dennis has 545 sows on a single farrow-to-finish site and 125 acres of arable land in north east Scotland. His herd had been suffering from enzootic pneumonia, APP, PCV2, pleurisy and pig flu. This, and the resulting poor food conversion efficiency, had affected the profitability of the business, with his CoP at the time being around 140p/kg deadweight. Overall, production had been supressed and he was having to use more antibiotics than he would have liked.

Dennis explained to us that after careful consideration and conversations with his bank manager, he decided to carry out a partial de-stock in 2015. Some grow-outs were rented to take weaners off site to finish, while the stock at the home unit were medicated to eliminate the disease challenge. In addition, he took the opportunity to re-vamp some of his buildings and improve the pig flow around the unit.

undefinedAt the time of our visit, no medication was being used and Dennis estimated his CoP to be 120p/kg deadweight (versus the 140p/kg prior to the de-stock). He said that staff morale was also at an all-time high. He believes the success of such an undertaking relies on all of the staff buying-in to the idea and adhering to the biosecurity protocols set out by the vet.

You can see some of the photos from my trip in this photo story:

By AHDB Pork at 17 Nov 2016, 15:50 PM


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