A new pig development centre linking academics with pig
producers aims to help the UK’s pig industry regain
its position as a world leader.
The National Pig Development Centre, funded by the British
Pig Executive (BPEX), will create the largest facility
for pig research, development and knowledge transfer in
the country, bringing together the UK’s top researchers
in the field from the universities of Leeds and Newcastle
and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) in Thirsk.
Key to the project is the link, through BPEX, with pig
producers to ensure that research findings can be quickly
translated into good practice on the farm and that problems
on the farm can quickly be addressed through research.
The centre will include a team of knowledge transfer specialists
from BPEX who will work with the researchers to ensure
their work is disseminated to industry and will liaise
with farmers to identify issues where research is needed.
Areas already identified by the centre for research include
analysing the benefits of new sire lines, assessing how
to manage variations in meat quality without affecting
customer demand, ways to reduce the seasonal effects on
production for the 25 per cent of pigs produced outdoors
in the UK and looking at the best ways to refurbish buildings
to improve pig health and performance.
Dr Helen Miller, from the University of Leeds and co-director
of the Pig Development Centre said: “Britain has
some fantastic research going on in pig production, but
this doesn’t filter through to the farming community.
Our pig industry has had a tough time over the last ten
years but initiatives like this are helping it turn the
corner. The research expertise exists to enable farmers
to get the best from their livestock and the new centre
will ensure they are able to benefit from our work.”
The centre’s other co-directors will be Professor
Sandra Edwards of Newcastle University and Professor Stan
Done of the VLA.
BPEX Director of Pig Industry Development, Mark Wilson,
said: “The Pig Development Centre will help to increase
the speed with which information is disseminated to and
from the industry and give us a single point of contact
with leading groups of academics who have been extremely
proactive in wanting to see a successful, thriving UK pig
The centre was officially launched in Leeds on 6 October
by Shadow Agriculture Minister, James Paice MP.
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