The Sow of the Future under the spotlight at Pigs 2022

What does the sow of the future look like?

Will she still be farrowing in a crate? Or will the research on alternative freedom farrowing systems eventually yield something that works for the sow, her piglets and the producer, to meet the growing clamour for something different?

And, just as importantly, are the current nutritional regimes we deploy for our breeding animals fit for a rapidly changing world? What could we do to improve them?

These are just some of the questions we will be discussing at the Innovation Conference, which takes place on the second day of the Pig World/AHDB Pork ‘Pigs 2022 – the Opportunities’ conference in Solihull, in June.

We are delighted to have secured some excellent speakers to discuss the ‘Sow of the Future’ in what is certain to be one of the most eagerly-awaited sessions of the two-day event.

Dr Emma Baxter, senior researcher in animal behaviour and welfare at SRUC, in Edinburgh, is a leading expert in the search for alternative farrowing systems. Her research has given her a unique insight into systems being developed around the world – and, therefore, the potential benefits and drawbacks of attempting to move beyond the farrowing crate.

Nathalie Quiniou, from IFIP, the applied research and technical institute for pigs in France, will deliver her considered thoughts on feeding strategies for reproductive sows to improve their longevity and the vitality of newborn piglets.

Her research over the years has also included studying the effect of ambient temperature and low crude protein diets on growing pigs and lactating sows.
This will constitute just one strand of an ambitious programme being put together for the conference.

The Innovation Conference, free to AHDB Pork levy payers, will also include sessions on:

  • Planning for the future in a changing world, including perspectives from the farm business, the retailer and the consumer
  • Alternatives to antimicrobials in pig production
  • All the issues around ‘Meat of the Future’
  • Specialist sessions for indoor and outdoor producers.

AHDB technical senior manager Dr Charlotte Evans said: “For this year’s innovation conference we won’t just be focusing on the ‘niche blue sky innovation’ but also exploring implementation of recent innovations, both here and overseas. We will be challenging new ideas and identifying bottlenecks that we can overcome as an industry, but also celebrating successes.”

More speakers will be announced in the coming months.

An international perspective
As the fortunes of the UK pig sector are increasingly shaped by events beyond our shores, Day One of Pigs 2022 will be dedicated to the International Outlook Conference, with the emphasis very much on the highly intertwined global marketplace.

Speakers confirmed so far include Cranswick chief Adam Couch and, to give the Danish perspective, Asger Krogsgaard, a pig farmer and vice chairman of both Danish Crown and the Danish Agriculture and Food Council.

Innovation, innovation, innovation
Awards will be handed out at the event for the best ‘Innovative Best Practices’ submitted by producers to the EUPiG project, which, championing innovation, AHDB Pork has secured funding to co-ordinate and lead.

‘Pigs 2022: The Opportunities’ – key details
When: June 6 and 7, 2017
Where: The St Johns Hotel, Solihull, centrally located and convenient for Birmingham International Airport and Railway Station and the M42
Day One: International Outlook Conference and dinner – with invited guests from all over the world
Day Two: Innovation Conference, free to attend to all English levy payers
How to book: To book, register on

Sponsors announced
We are delighted to announce our first sponsors for Pigs 2022 – The Opportunities. They are:
AM Warkup
Boehringer Ingelheim

Get Our E-Newsletter - Pig World's best stories in your in-box twice a week
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

About The Author

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.