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New BPHS Scheme for Producers

by 5m Editor
28 May 2008, at 4:47pm

UK - The British Pig Health Scheme (BPHS), launched in July 2005 by the British Pig Executive (BPEX), has proved such a hit with farmers and vets that a new improved three-year scheme is starting on 1 July.

BPHS provides members, their vets, abattoirs and funding partners with regular, objective and detailed post-mortem health assessments from pigs submitted to 14 specialist pig abattoirs in England. To date the BPHS team of specialist pig vets have reported on more than 12,000 consignments of pigs.

Initial analysis of the data from those members who have been regularly assessed since 2005 has shown units which started with higher than average scores for enzootic pneumonia, pleurisy and milk spot liver have all been making good progress in reducing the number of pigs affected.

With feed prices rising good herd management has never been more important in order to maximize efficiency and profitability of the unit - on average for every increase of £10 / tonne in feed cost, the cost of production increases by 3.9 pence/kg deadweight.

Both Enzootic Pneumonia (EP) and "milk spot" have big effects on food conversion ratio (FCR) and daily liveweight gain (DLWG). Pleurisy not only affects welfare and performance but is also the biggest cause of partial and total carcase condemnations in abattoirs.

Chronic EP infections will result in poorer feed conversion efficiency and reduced daily gain. In acute infections greater performance reductions will be seen. Improving FCR by 0.1 is worth at least £1.60 per pig and an extra 50g per day in growth rate can be worth more than £2 per pig - based on 2006-07 feed costs figures.

A survey of members of the scheme found that all of the farmers surveyed discussed the BPHS reports with their vets when reviewing pig health and performance. Over 60 per cent of producers and 80% of vets have been taking action on farms to tackle health issues using information from their reports.

In practice, the scheme has helped individual businesses to develop and implement health improvement plans resulting in improved physical and financial performance.

The new scheme comes with the additional benefits of the opportunity for vets to take additional samples, increased number of assessment days, consultations with vets about conditions they have observed in the abattoir and better defined detail on pleurisy.

You can find more about the scheme by logging onto www.bpex.org.uk.

5m Editor