The British pig industry owes a huge debt of gratitude
to its centre of research and development at Stotfold.
The UK pig industries Development Unit, just outside Stotfold
in Bedfordshire was opened by Lord Belstead, Minister of
State (Lords), Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods
in November 1984.
Over the years it has undergone many changes but has always
been at the forefront of research firmly aimed at delivery
of practical opportunities, work which could be quickly
disseminated and implemented on working pig farms.
At its peak the unit employed 10 staff and had 300 sows
farrow to finish. However major changes in the industry
and a fundamental shift in the strategy of the British
Pig Executive (BPEX) meant it was no longer needed and
over the last six months has been gradually wound down.
The final piece of research work was completed in May
2007, part of the Defra LINK £3.5m weaner research
programme. Stotfold's part was to look at weaner diets
that maximised the use of home-grown cereals and oilseeds.
To the end, the stock performed excellently with weaning
to slaughter growth rates of 740g/day and grower to slaughter
in excess of 1050g/day.
BPEX Director of Pig Industry Development Mark Wilson
said: "Stotfold has been a huge asset to the industry
over the years and we are sad to see it go. "BPEX
carried out a major review of its research and development
and unfortunately Stotfold didn't fit into the new perspective."
Over the years, the work at Stotfold has included:
- Introduction of soya bean meal to pig diets
- Copper sulphate
as a growth promoter
- Evaluation of commercial genotypes
for sow productivity, growth
- Performance and carcase and
meat quality (Stotfold First Trial)
- Development of ultrasound
technology for carcase composition
- Blueprint for pig meat
- Stotfold sow lactation feeding strategy
- protein requirements of commercial genotypes
speed of growth and pork tenderness were positively correlated
feeding offers savings of 14p/kg dead weight
- Liquid feeding
halves the percentage of pigs testing positive for Salmonella
BPEX has been exploring the redevelopment
of the site and planning permission is being applied
for. The two final members of staff have been made redundant
- Lisa Taylor (manager) and Malcolm Day (stockman).
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