Straw-based pig housing systems are claimed to be gaining increasing favour among producers, in response to rising “demand from supermarkets” for pigs reared under such systems.
The Suffolk-based buildings company, Quality Equipment, has reported a “steady growth in demand” for this type of housing.
“In the last year alone we have constructed 14,000 new (straw-based) pig places and kitted-out a further 10,000, providing enough capacity to produce over 50,000 pigs a year,” said the company. “In addition, we’ve carried out numerous conversions of cattle and poultry sheds to straw-based systems.”
QE’s construction manager, Aidan Hubbard, said that pigs reared under these conditions can fetch a premium, driven by a growth in demand from supermarkets for pigs reared under outdoor and welfare-friendly systems.
“Straw-based systems are often seen as labour-intensive, but with push-through dung passages and automatic feeding, this doesn’t need to be the case,” said QE.
“Straw also allows pigs to express some of their natural behavioural instincts, a factor which is seen as a sales benefit of British pork produced under this system.”