The first phase of a new series of BPEX field trials has begun, focusing on studies of feeder space and stocking density in finishing systems and omega-3 supplementation of sows.
Current work is going on at Harper Adams University, Leeds University and a commercial pig production unit, all with the aim of generating “robust technical data” on which firm recommendations for the industry can be based.
“The finishing herd trials aim to find out what effect increased feeder space and increased floor space allowance have on pig growth, while the omega-3 trial is looking at potential effects on litter performance and piglet viability,” said BPEX field trials co-ordinator Peter Dunne.
The next phase of the BPEX programme will include trials looking at the relationship between sow body condition score and performance and farrowing best practice.
“These are protocol-based, scientifically robust trials which will address specific issues in the breeding and rearing herds plus the areas of data, the environment and pig health,” said BPEX innovation team manager, Charlotte West.
“This is about identifying practices that can make a real difference on farm to improve production and are a key addition to BPEX’s activities to help producers close the performance gap.”
Ms West also said that while some pig producers had already expressed an interest in taking part in field trials, BPEX was still looking for more commercial trial sites.