The first AHDB Pork focus farm meeting, hosted by Lancashire producer David Goodier, resulted in the development of a four-point action list for his 250-sow unit at Ribby Hall, near Blackpool.
Drawing 50 producers and allied industry representatives to the farm, the event was described as an “exceptional success” by AHDB Pork’s technical innovation manager, Charlotte Evans.
“We started the day at Ribby Hall where David had the chance to introduce his business to the group,” she said. “We then kitted up to adhere to the biosecurity measures and headed off to the unit where the group was split into four and taken on a guided tour of the holding, focusing on farrowing, growing, finishing and service.”
Back at Ribby Hall, group members were given the opportunity 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,” said Ms Evans. “The main issues were deemed to be: pre-weaning mortality, aggression in the weaners, sudden death in the finishers and water availability.
“We’ll now work with David and the relevant business stakeholders to implement measures to counteract some of these challenges.”
The plan is to come back together as a group on October 17, review progress and assess other areas of the business that may need support.
“I think it’s important that we get out on farm and learn from each other,” said Mr Goodier (pictured above). “So many of our European counterparts are doing this already and reaping the rewards of working together. I believe we should follow their lead.”