Critical points on the pig farm: introduction

The pig producing industry is a dynamic sector that has undergone enormous changes in recent years. Globalization means that the pig on your plate can come from anywhere in the world. At the same time, consumers changed their way of shopping, different from how they were used to in the past. Nowadays, one prefers to go to a supermarket where there is a huge variety of products instead of going to the local butcher. The stringent demands imposed by these retailers have put pig farmers’ margins under pressure and are forcing them to make savings by using economies of scale. This trend towards ever bigger farms means that production costs and optimizing efficiency have become key concepts in modern pig farming.

In order to be able to optimize production results, pig farms have to aim for a high health status, so as to keep the costs of disease prevention under control. This can be done, for example, by putting specific pathogen free animals into a farm or, more easily, by introducing synchronized group management systems.

In addition to this changed market situation, pig farmers also have to comply with a string of regional guidelines and European directives, which not only impose strict rules with regard for example to reducing antibiotics and managing manure, but also regulate other areas such as the group housing of sows for better animal welfare.

For the farm manager, therefore, making the right decisions for his or her farm is a very difficult task and one which involves taking into account all the aspects of modern pig farming.

From now on, every two months we will highlight one specific topic of your pig farm management starting next time with the ‘general management of a pig farm’.