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Producer KT - Ask BPEX
I have 2 questions 1) how much pork was imported to the UK from Poland in 2010? 2)is there any estimate available of how much pork was imported into the UK illegally in 2010?
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
World imports of fresh and frozen pork to the UK totalled 362,800 tonnes in 2010, one per cent higher than in 2009.
What effect does dry matter of liquid feed have on FCR and growth rate?
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Further to your query on the FCR of liquid feeding there are not a lot of published data on this and most of the conclusions stem from anecdotal evidence.
Should I use lime wash as part of my C&D programme?
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Lime wash is cheap and cheerful and good for making surfaces smoother e.g. where concrete is beginning to pit. It has some antimicrobial action, but you need to thoroughly clean AND disinfect before applying. Once applied it must dry for at least 48 hours.
I am trying to develop a mix of yoghurt, glucose and acidifier to give my piglets as a scour reducer?
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
These products are available commercially (eg pigletsart, colostar etc) and seem to be unit, or even stockman, specific - some people swear by them, some hate them.
Does glucose break up colostrum?
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
In calves you don’t give glucose alongside milk as it clots in the abomasums therefore reducing absorption. It is not as critical in the piglet, as often, if you don’t rehydrate, the piglets will die anyway.
When will farmers see the need to get new blood into our ageing workforce?
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
This is of course an issue facing all sectors of the farming industry with the average age of farmers being nearly 60 years (from a recent Farmers Weekly poll).
Could you tell me what the recommended stocking density is for pigs kept outdoors to a weight of 40 - 90 kg? I understand that the stocking density for sows is an average of 25 sows per hectare.
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
You are correct with the stocking density you quote for outdoor sows, although this is based on welfare grounds and free draining soils. The rate would need to be reduced on poorly draining soils liable to poaching or areas of high rainfall.
Is there much of a difference between the KPI's in the UK to the ones in Europe? If so, why? I've never really understood.
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Thank you for your enquiry regarding relative KPI performance of the UK pig industry with other EU industries.

We produce an annual report which details the relative physical and financial KPI performance of the GB pig industry with a number of other EU industries, the 2010 report will be published shortly.
Can you put pure Landrace sows and gilts outdoors, will they cope?
Friday, 20 August 2010
Yes! Putting pure Landrace sows and gilts outdoors should not be a problem as the pigs' natural instincts will kick in and they will adapt to the outdoor situation.
To help them settle in make sure you start off some wallows before they arrive; fill with water to create an emulsion and the pigs will soon find them and wallow.
Generally in theory/practise do straw based piggery systems create a more nuisance-free environment in comparison to the more traditional slurry systems?
Thursday, 24 June 2010
This may largerly be dependant upon good management practise however it is my experience that straw based systems provide a significant improvement for the prevention of malodours and manure for land application? Please can you comment to support or provide evidence otherwise.
When is British Sausage Week 2010?
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Hi - I am a Catering tutor at a College in Nottingham and would very much like to plan events to link in with British Sausage Week this year, as we have in the past. However, I cannot find the dates for this year on any website. Can you help please?
What is the cost of IPPC on a straw based unit, and is it hard to do?
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Firstly IPPC in England is now covered by the Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR), which is rather confusing.
I have to calculate whether we have enough dirty water capacity for 6 months storage. Are there standard figures to calculate liquid output per pig?
Thursday, 4 February 2010
I can calculate quantities amounting from rainfall on outside concrete and roofs but cannot discover how to estimate what the animals themselves produce. I have a reasonable idea of water consumption but clearly not all that water ends up in the lagoon.
Can you clarify whether or not you can feed raw potatoes to pigs please, I thought that the tryptophan they contain harms them?
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Tryptophan can never really harm them – it might help them sleep though! Solanin – the alkaloid poison - could reduce their growth and immunity if at high levels from green spuds however.
Young growers are also known to sometimes choke on whole potatoes so they are best chopped – but the starch source is good and so potatoes can be a good source of DE if cheap.
I was interested to see the picture of the matting in the gateway of Plantation Pigs farm in the BPEX case study featured in this month's Pig World (Oct 09). Any idea where I can get the matting? I thought we might try some in parts of our service tents, as well as gateways.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
The company where Plantation Pigs got their matting from is called ATF Supplies, Andover (Tel: 01264 366211), but there are bound to be other suppliers around the country who would be able to supply a similar product.
We are building a new finishing house with a straw bedding, please could you suggest what fall we need to lay the floor at so that it drains away from the bedding? The pen will be 7m long. We will also put in a new loading ramp, are there any rules we need to follow?
Thursday, 10 September 2009
In order to maintain dry beds floors typically slope away from the lying area with a fall of 1:40. Thus for a pen 7.0m long there will be a difference of 0.18m (75/16") between the two ends.

Regarding loading ramps the assurance scheme standards are as follow:

A ramp angle of no more than 20° is permitted.
It is permitted to make a step at the top of the ramp of up to 20 cm to reduce the ramp angle though this is not recommended.
How would you recommend slap marking pigs to give maximum tattoo and minimum pain to the pigs and myself?
Thursday, 3 September 2009
BPEX have produced a work instruction on this very subject which can be downloaded by following the link below. In addition, there are number of meetings coming up in your area under the Livestock South East project for smaller pig herds.

The next set include health care and using AI to improve breeding. The dates are as follows.

Sparsholt College Tues 13th October
Plumpton College Wed 14th October
Wallingford Vets Thurs 15th October

More details can be found on the Livestock South East webpage:
I am looking into purchasing a recording system and I wondered if you could recommend one?
Friday, 26 June 2009
BPEX have produced a which guide to all the recording systems availbale in the UK. Each shows the features and benefits and what you can expect the system to do for your pig business. Some cover just pig production and others have facilities to cover costings as well.
I am looking into purchasing an incinerator and wanted to know if BPEX have a Which Guide so I know what one to purchase.
Friday, 26 June 2009
Pig keepers may incinerate fallen stock on the holding of origin using equipment with a capacity of less than 50 kg/hour, these are referred to as ‘Low Capacity Incinerators’. These incinerators must be of a type approved under the Animal By-Products Regulation (ABPR) (EC) No. 1774/2002. These are exempt from the more onerous controls of the Waste Incineration Directive. However, plants which burn other animal by-products (ABPs) (eg former foodstuffs, catering waste, manure), processed products (meat and bone meal, tallow), or other waste not of animal origin must be authorised under the Waste Incineration Directive.
I would like to know why the price of pork has increased significantly in recent times. Is it purely to do with the increasing cost of animal feed or are there other reasons?
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Lower supplies are the main reason for the higher pig prices. Home-produced supplies have fallen because of past declines in the breeding herd, with higher feed prices being an important factor here. Imported supplies are lower because of reduced production in some other EU countries plus the impact of a significant decline in the sterling exchange rate - which will have further pushed up import prices in UK terms.
My water meter is giving a very high reading for water output; averaging well over 10 gallons per day per sow. I believe I have a water leak but just to make sure how much should sows be drinking per day?
Thursday, 26 March 2009
The water flow through a nipple drinker for the lactating sow should approximate 1.5 to 2 litres per minute. Water intake in the dry sow varies from 9-18 litres per day and in lactation from 18 to 36 litres. Source:
I have recently made the decision to convert my scrape through grower house to partially slatted.
Monday, 16 March 2009
The dung passage will be converted to slats but keeping the original solid/straw lying area in kennels. Currently we have solid gates between pens, should I keep these solid or turn them to standard barred gates. Is there any benefit from pigs seeing each other?
I run a small pig enterprise alongside beef and sheep enterprises. Can I feed maize silage, crimped maize or crimped field beans to growing and finishing pigs? If yes, what other ingredients should I be including in the diet, to provide protein and minerals? The pigs are purebred Middle Whites.
Monday, 29 December 2008
In short you can feed any of these materials, though the feeding value of maize silage for pigs is low and it would only meet a proportion of their energy requirements, but represents an opportunity as explained below.

The feeding of purebreds and rare breed pigs is a bit experimental initially as there is uncertainty over their protein and energy requirements.
A suitable diet would contain a milled mix of field beans and cereals supplemented with minerals and vitamins. As the protein requirement of Middle Whites is likely to be lower than commercial pigs, you may find that there is no additional need to add a good quality protein source such as soya bean meal. Your nutritional advisor should be able to formulate a suitable diet, and we could help if required.

The challenge with purebreds is to control fat deposition, whilst meeting their healthy appetite for food! This can be achieved by offering some foraging material in addition to their daily concentrate allowance. Maize silage would serve this purpose, but root vegetables, such as carrots, turnips, beet etc are ideal. Not parsnips.
We are a multi-species cutting plant, currently progressing BQAP certification, and apparently need to register with yourselves for the quality mark (though may not use it on pack labels). Please could you let us know how to go about registering for this?
Monday, 29 December 2008
Thank you for your enquiry regarding registering for the QSM.
For a product to carry the QSM you need to source pork products from an assured pig farm via a BQAP abattoir and processing facility and comply with BMPA charter mark scheme standards for bacon, ham and sausage products.
A registration pack can be obtained from:
I try to source all my meat ethically and, most particularly, with animal welfare in mind. In fact, wherever possible, I buy organic. I recently came across a sausage that claimed to use BQAP. What does that really mean in terms of animal welfare?
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
The British Quality Assured Pork standard refers to the abattoir and processing standards within the British pig meat whole chain quality assurance scheme. For a product to carry the Quality Standard Mark it must be produced in line with the following assurance schemes that are independently audited in accordance with EN45012 international certification standards

Feed - UKAS
Farm - ABP or Genesis Quality Assurance
Transport - ABM
Abattoir - BQAP
Processing - BQAP

Details on each of these standards are freely available from our website on the below links

We also have a summary of different pig meat production systems in the below link.

In terms of animal welfare pig meat the QSM mark (including the BQAP standard for suasages) prohibits the use of sow stalls - still permitted in the rest of Europe and also prohibits the castration of pigs which I think you will find is still permitted with the organic pig meat standards.
I have very little experience of pig production and would like some information on the possibility of finishing pigs on potatoes. I have approximately 4 acres of potatoes that have not been harvested and I am considering the possibility of letting some pigs into the field to make use of the crop. I would appreciate any advice you could give me regarding additional nutritional requirements, batch sizes, breeds, shelters and any other practical and husbandry issues.
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Raw potatoes can be fed to pigs and they would happily uproot them from the field, as well as making a mess in the process!

The potatoes should not have been exposed to sunlight as the glycoalkaloids in green tubers may be toxic to pigs, though there is little research on this subject.
I am producing some costings for a farmer to cover his lagoon, and find your document looking at the practicalities of different types of cover very useful. I was wondering whether you have any average costs available for each option, or know a source of such information that you could send to me?
Thursday, 23 October 2008
It is very difficult to put a cost on the different covering options as not only the type of cover, but the size and shape of the lagoon, ease of installation all influence the outcome, to make matters worse the exchange rate against the Euro will also have an impact along with the cost of oil for the synthetic types. I suggest that you are best speaking to the suppliers.
Tanlake Farm and Machinery are probably the most experienced at installing floating synthetic covers in the UK and have done a couple up in the Banff area. One difficulty with these is the lagoon has to be completely cleaned out and emptied before installation.
If you would like to discuss this in more detail contact Nigel Penlington: 01908 844276
I was wondering what is the meat to carcass ratio for an average pig. I am looking at how much lard, meat and skin one gets from a pig, of a certain carcass weight as well as for other animals.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
The average British pig of 76.6 kg carcase weight and a P2 fat depth of 11.0 mm has an estimated lean meat content of 61.3%.

By lard we assume you mean fat tissue. A dissection of 20 carcases with an average dissected lean of 61.5% had the following components:

14.7 subcutaneous fat (inc skin)
4.2 intermuscular fat
3.0 head and cheeks
11.7 bone
I would like to know more about acid in feed after reading an article in Pig World
Friday, 5 September 2008
Feeding acids to pigs from 13-30 kg is common throughout Europe. They seem to have more effect in vegetable based diets rather than those high in animal protein. Their mode of action is complex but in part works by modification of gut bugs. This generally means the healthier the farm the lower the response.
In-feed acid that has been found to work in some situations is Vevovitall (benzoic) but not cheap at around 5kg/tonne at about £1.35/kg (Aug 08). New lower inclusion products based upon medium chain fatty acids (coconut oil) are looking interesting.

Few people use in-feed acids in finishing pigs now. There is mixed evidence as to whether it may help Salmonella issues due to its nature of being absorbed prior to main Salmonella populations in the hind gut.
There are protected acids but these are still not used commonly. Organic acid products fall into two categories: 1) unprotected containing formic, lactic and proppionic acids in a free form and 2) protected acids, which means the acid has been modified so it is not absorbed prior to entering the hind gut.

Many now believe acid in water is better than acid in feed - formic/lactic based products have given the best results in water.
Can you tell me where I can source 50 to 60 x 5-6 kg pork legs weekly, to make a Hampshire cooked ham?
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Further to your enquiry we suggest you contact:

BMPA (British Meat Processors Association) - 020 7329 0776

AIMS (Association of Independent Meat Suppliers) 01609 761547

Either should be able to put you in touch with a supplier for your needs.
I run a 2600 place straw based nursery unit in close proximity to a number of residential properties. Please could you advise on best practice to control flies?
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Traditionally flies are thought of as a seasonal problem. However now, with the tendency for warmer, wetter weather all year round, frequently they can become a year round issue. Therefore on-going control programmes are essential to keep fly populations at low levels.

Whether it is the common house fly, blue bottle, stable or fruit flies good housekeeping and levels of hygiene can go a long way towards helping to keep fly populations down, but sometimes this is just not enough. When further measures are necessary there are a variety of methods that can be used including flytraps, baits, paints, knockdown or residualsprays and biological predators.

A crucial factor for any control programme is to BREAK THE LIFE CYCLE and therefore it is necessary to use both larvacides at the breeding sites, as well adulticides.

Whichever product(s) you are using read the product labels and use them correctly, ensuring that these are appropriate for the species you are trying to control and the stage, frequently you will need to use a combination of products.

Follow the instructions do not take shortcuts, use the correct rates and remember you may need to alternate products during the year, resistance can develop quite rapidly.
Some Birmingham City Council schools are working towards the Food for Life standard. This standard states that all meat must be Farm Assured. It has been questioned that the BPEX mark does not guarantee the meat comes from a farm that has been independently verified as operating to the production standards of a voluntary assurance scheme such as the Assured British Pigs scheme. Please can you confirm if this is correct.
Thursday, 14 August 2008
Thank you for your enquiry regarding the BPEX Quality Standard Mark and assurance. I am pleased to tell you that for a product to carry the quality standard mark the various parts of the supply chain must be members and comply with the standards for the following schemes:
Until recently a vegetarian, I have decided to start eating meat if it meets high animal welfare standards - only eating products from pigs if they are outdoor bred and reared. Can you please tell me whether the British Meat Quality Standard for bacon,pork and sausages requires pigs to be outdoor bred and reared?
Friday, 8 August 2008
The Quality Standard for Pigmeat requires all pigmeat that displays the mark to have upheld the standards it represents.
i.e. if an outdoor producer wishes to use the mark on pigmeat produce it must have upheld the standards of the scheme.

The initiative provides a single, comprehensive and recognisable Quality Standard for all Pork and pork products i.e. Bacon, Ham and Sausages

All packs that carry this mark comes from farmers committed to these high standards which includes: animal welfare, quality control and traceability.

Animal welfare issues are important as food shoppers increasingly want to be reassured that what happens on the farm and in transport is professionally carried out using acceptable welfare, husbandry and healthcare practices. This standard and all its elements are independently audited to ensure compliance.

And so, where you see the Quality Standard Mark on pack you can be assured of the highest standards of animal welfare, quality control and traceability of the product.

I hope this has helped with your query, but if you require further detailed information please visit the following website:
I have noted recent media airings of the definitional issue of Free Range for pork, and BPEX's stated position of wanting industry guidance in the absence of statutory definition. Are you able to update me on the latest situation and point me to any non-statutory definitions for Free Range pork (as well as for Freedom Food Pork)?
Thursday, 31 July 2008
As you are aware, there is no legal definition regarding production descriptors such as free range for pig production, as exists for poultry and eggs. BPEX are currently in discussion with the RSPCA as to whether a VOLUNTARY code for describing different indoor and more extensive outdoor systems could be established and what the parameters should be for each category within such a code.
My abattoir has told me that I need a Food Chain Information form in adition to the usual Movement Licence, are you able to email one to me or tell me where I can download one?
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
The BPEX online FCI service is available at, free of charge to all pig producers, and your account will store any abattoir or MHS feedback after the pigs are killed.

The form and guidance document can be downloaded from the above web link or if you would rather, they can be emailed/posted to you.
Why has the Holderness area in East Yorkshire been hit so hard, with very few pig farms now left?
Thursday, 3 July 2008
Due to the recent rise in feed prices and poor payments for pig meat, many producers have faced significant increases in the cost of production. The fact that many haven't even been able to break even - and some have reported up to a £20 loss per pig produced - has forced many producers to go out of production.