UK - Chilling fallen stock on pig units could lead to improved management, reduced disease risk and potential cost savings in the supply chain, according to research funded by BPEX, the National Fallen Stock Company (NFSCo) and the Foodchain and Biomass Renewables Association (Fabra).
Under current legislation, the collection and disposal of fallen stock represents a significant cost to pig units. In addition, on-farm storage, plus movements of fallen stock in transit between sites, can pose a serious risk to both biosecurity and the environment.
A study, carried out by Harper Adams University and Danish consultancy, Patriotisk Selskab, investigated the concept of chilling fallen stock, evaluating its potential for the UK pig industry. Sue Rabbich, BPEX environment and building research co-ordinator, says: “Our European neighbours in Denmark and The Netherlands have been chilling fallen stock on units since 2008 and we are interested to see if this technology can work within our systems in the UK.”
Commenting on the feasibility report, Ian Campbell, Director of the NFSCo, says: “I was struck by the information that thousands of cooling containers have been sold to various industries in 13 EU countries already, with buying decisions in agriculture often driven by bio-security concerns.
“I suspect that the threat of African Swine Fever, and PEDv, has caused our colleagues on the continent to raise their game on disease prevention and left us somewhere behind,” he adds.
Although Sue is encouraged by the findings, she does ackowledge that there are several stages of further research before recommending the system for adoption by the industry.
“Further research will focus upon quantifying the effects of storage temperature and duration upon the carcase yield, quality, odour emissions and microbial stability. The aim is to develop a more secure, cost-effective and sustainable on-farm system.
“There will obviously be an amount of inital investment for UK pig producers and those involved in collection and disposal of fallen stock, but the potential costs of not investing in the technology could be considerably higher,” she adds.
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