Research designed to prove that the Pedigree Welsh Pig breed can be used on a commercial basis is being carried out by a team at Harper Adams University with funding support from the Welsh Government.
The University has set up a feeding trial to compare the growth rate of the Pedigree Welsh Pig with both hybrid pigs and the Gloucester Old Spot breed. The work is being led by Harper Adams’ pig unit manager, Richard Hooper, whose team is working with pigs supplied from 10 different herds. Once they’ve completed their study, the results will be passed to Aberystwyth University for further analysis of genetic data to provide breed line information.
“We have been committed to increasing the numbers of Pedigree Welsh Pigs for the past five years, conducting various research studies with the aim of producing evidence to prove that the breed can be used on a commercial basis,” said Pedigree Welsh Pig Society secretary, Pat Stebbings.
“The breed was originally one of the three major breeds on which the modern pig industry was built, but due to hybrid pig production, numbers of the Welsh Pig have declined and the breed is on the Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST) list and was described as ‘at risk’ in 2005.”
Mr Hooper commented that he was “delighted to be able to assist the Society in its aim to increase numbers of this lesser known and endangered breed”.
The work, which is being supported through the Welsh Government’s supply chain efficiency scheme, is also being conducted by the Society in support of an application for EU protected status under the name of “Traditionally Reared Pedigree Welsh Pork”.