Scots pig heath unit awarded £391,000 development grant

Wholesome Pigs Scotland (WPS), the country’s pig health and disease monitoring operation, has been awarded £391,000 by the Scottish government to undertake a three-year development programme with the aim of providing improved on-farm information for producers.

Established in 2003, WPS already provides the industry with an abattoir-based health monitoring service, delivering quarterly reports for producers and vets to help them make management decisions on a range of herd health issues.

The new grant package, however, is designed to enable WPS to upgrade its current work, beginning with a year-one drawing together of all existing health, carcase and on-farm information, followed by two years of cross-referencing and development to maximise the farm-based value of the service.

A WPS spokesman said that the ultimate aim is to reach a point where the unit is able to assess the impact of a new or established disease on an individual farm, providing the producer and vet concerned with reliable data against which to plan and cost a relevant management programme.

The WPS award is one of five grants announced today by the Scottish government under a £2 million programme of support for “skills development, knowledge transfer and on-the-ground farming improvements”

Funding for the projects is being provided through Scotland’s Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF), with £1.25m of the total package being directed towards Quality Meat Scotland’s new monitor farm programme.

“This funding will help Scotland take advantage of its strong performance in research and development,” said Scotland’s rural affairs secretary, Richard Lochhead. “It will also make sure that the learning from here and elsewhere can be transferred to on-the-ground improvements in agriculture, ensuring the flow of information and best practice farming into the community, where it can make a real difference to profits.”

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