Red Tractor warns pig farmers about overstocking amid growing scrutiny

Red Tractor has urged pig members to ensure they avoid overstocking at all times ahead of an advertising campaign that will bring added scrutiny to the scheme.

Red Tractor Assurance will run its own national television advertising campaign in the autumn for the first time in its history. As a result, the need to ensure members are compliant 365-days of the year is more important than ever, Charlotte Wardle, Red Tractor Pigs scheme member manager, said.

“Now is the time for every member to do their bit and protect the integrity of the logo,” she said.

“Red Tractor would like to remind members that overstocking is not allowed on farms, and producers should be aware of situations which could cause overstocking, for example, increased litter sizes and older pen designs.

“Minimum space allowances, as set out in the Red Tractor Standard, must be complied with at all times, and without exception.”

She stressed that it is the producer’s responsibility to anticipate any changes in production levels, and to make adjustments accordingly, before the extra pigs come through the system.

“Measures could include adding extra pen capacity, reducing the number of farrowings, or selling surplus pigs to make room,” she added.

“It is not acceptable to overstock, even as a ‘one-off’. Nor is it acceptable to have plans in the future to increase pen capacity. Producers who have organised pen sizes to avoid mixing litters may have to rethink how they use their total capacity, since the wish to avoid mixing does not make overstocking permissible.”

Announcing the advertising at the end of March, Red Tractor chief executive Jim Moseley said: “The new campaign will focus on the reassurance that Red Tractor brings to consumers through its rigorous checks against the high standards of British agriculture.”

Spearheaded by the television advert, the campaign will be synchronised and reinforced across magazines, on-demand video, websites and social media channels.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.