1. Expanding the national breeding herd to 200,000 sows.
2. Increasing sow productivity from 21.8 to 24 pigs produced per sow per year.
Three key performance indicators are identified:
1. Sow productivity: The increase will have to come from a significant improvement in the number of piglets born alive per litter.
2. Slaughter weight: The small increase in carcass weight at slaughter to 80kg is based on the continued use of entire males as opposed to castration, either surgical or by vaccination.
3. Feed conversion: Currently over 30% of the feed used by the pig sector is home milled and mixed, and this is expected to increase.
The density of pig production in Ireland is not a constraint on the expansion of production within the existing environmental regulations. The environmental impact of the projected increase can be substantially offset by improvements in feed formulation. The location of the increased production in areas with low density of production and in tillage areas would reduce the cost of transporting pig manure to be used as a valuable grassland and crop fertiliser.
Research and knowledge transfer actions
1. Conduct relevant pig research in the areas of nutrition, welfare and pig management at Moorepark with the financial support of the sector.
2. Increase the number of producers that fully participate in the PigSys herd recording system and benchmark herd performance.
3. Continue availability of farm visits to deal with specific problems/issues on units.
4. Provide focused workshops for pig producers and staff, both at central locations and on farm for larger herds.
5. Continue the Fetac Level 6 course commencing every second year.
6. Increase the use of electronic methods of communication.