Pork Production Around the World - Challenges & Opportunities: The World

By John Gadd, International Pig Consultant - This article is from a collection of the scientific papers presented at the 2006 London Swine Conference.
calendar icon 19 December 2006
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A review of what pork producers do well and not-so-well across the world is presented in table form. Three areas which the author – a widely traveled hog consultant working in 22 countries worldwide – suggests pig farmers should consider in particular are...

  1. To travel more so as to see for themselves global ideas which could well be applicable to their own locality and systems of production.
  2. To address the problem of labor overload, where ‘tail-chasing’ retards good business management decisions. Suggestions are put forward on how the modern producer/his farm manager can rectify this universal problem.
  3. The drag of disease; the author suggests a series of practical, on-farm strategies to arrest and then reduce the worsening situation worldwide, all based on improving the herd’s natural immune defenses.


This paper will not contain the many tables of pig production output, costs, market coverage and economic global details often written about, but is one widely-traveled pig consultant’s experiences and considered opinions on how pig production in the major pig producing industries is progressing (and sadly, retrogressing in some others) as well as some specific suggestions for improvement.


We are Still in the Golden Age of Pig Production
So much is happening globally, it is both breathtaking and confusing – and to try to keep pace with it all can be overwhelming. Pig producers don’t travel nearly enough to see for themselves what works and what does not on other pig farms/industries.

Every month there are new techniques being adopted, or forced on us by politicians and their bureaucrats, do-gooders and fuss-pots, or alternatively found to be econometrically feasible, (econometrics = the study/application of cost effectiveness).

Practical Developments the Pig Producer Can Use Now
Partial depopulation, later weaning, group housing sows, streaming and segregated pig flow, pipeline feeding, feeding to bolster immune status (Challenge Feeding), Menu Feeding, batch farrowing, cheap eco shelters, outdoor sow production, several methods of turning voidings into a resource, electronic sow feeding…. And so on. How many of these up-and-running techniques have you looked into?


Scientists and researchers are doing great work on genetics and the pig genome, baby pig nutrition, sow nutrition (in my view overdue), viral diseases (after price volatility, probably our greatest threat to profit), auto-sorting and new methods of weighing, organic nutrients and their sources, electronic identification and data logging, computer analysis of performance and progress (in my heretical opinion, this does now need reviewing and improvement), pathogen resistance and antibiotic replacement, odor control, pollution and thinking of voidings as a resource, not as a nuisance.

Great work is being done in all these areas, and more. Trouble is pig farmers in one country understandably follow the lead of their local or national leaders. That’s fine, but these same farmers also, through the media, keep an eye on what other pig industries are recommending but they rarely go and see for themselves. This is unwise and – dare I say it – may be negligent?

There is no substitute for going and seeing for yourself. I am an international traveler whose on-farm work in the past 5 years alone has taken me to 14 different pig industries, some 116 farms, 7 major commercial firms marketing new ideas or products, 4 Government bodies, 6 Universities doing exciting research and 4 processors revising and enlarging their systems. All since 2000.

This ‘go-seeing’ has radically influenced my opinions and on-farm advice – as well as providing new or revised material for some 100 articles, papers and 3 books written over the period.

OK so we cannot all go see! But what any industry needs to do is send experts you can trust in various sectors – veterinary, housing, management, AI, processing etc. to report back every 2 years with a home economist adding his calculations to the findings. The Danes do this, the British are starting to, and the Japanese do it quietly.

Further Information

To continue reading this article, click here (PDF).

To view the summary page and the other articles in this series, click here

June 2006

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