November 16, 2006

 

UK pig industry focuses on building herd health

 

 

Even as the UK pig industry has, at long last, began to enjoy a period of sustained profitability,  Stewart Houston, chairman of the National Pig Association, has warned them not to be complacent when it comes to animal health. 

 

Speaking at a joint Society of Feed Technologists and Meat and Livestock Commission conference, Houston said pork demand is strong not just in the UK and this provides a real opportunity for producers.

 

However, this increase is not without its problems, he said, adding that animal disease is having a major impact on world trade, exerting downward pressure on demand and confidence. On the production front, pig diseases has had drastic effects on performance, Houston said.

 

In the EU, the UK's pork production costs is second highest only to Italy, who owe this inflated amount to the production of specialist products.

 

UK producers have invested millions into the health of their animals. However, sow productivity has only just started to get back up to respectable levels, Houston noted.

 

Houston noted that the British Pig Executive (BPEX) had revised and updated objectives for 2006 to 2009 to include recovery of herd health.

 

Analysing the role of BPEX within the industry, Mr Houston recognised BPEX as a communicator to and on behalf of the industry and highlighted the need for effective knowledge transfer to producers and the public.