The first of the new BPEX field trials are underway, investigating feeder space and stocking density in finishing systems and omega-3 supplementation of sows.
The aim is to generate robust technical data from trials run on both commercial and research units, on which firm recommendations for the industry can be based.
Increased feeder space and its impact on pig growth
Trials are up and running on three sites so far, at Harper Adams University, Leeds University and a commercial pig production unit. BPEX field trials co-ordinator Peter Dunne said: "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.
"Other areas we're planning to look at include the relationship between sow body condition score and performance and farrowing best practice. These were proposed last year during BPEX's first round of regional producer forum meetings which enable the industry to have direct input into BPEX activities."
BPEX innovation team manager Charlotte West said: "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.
"The trials are 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.
"We've heard from some pig producers interested in taking part in field trials but we are still looking for more to provide commercial trial sites which are integral to the programme."
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