For a successful pig farm it is vitally important to establish a carefully selected site and put together an environment that is perfect for piglet rearing. Being thorough in your pre-planning will minimise the risks further down the road. There re always problems that a pig farm will face, from management concerns, to the welfare of the animals, the spread of disease and viruses, as well as potential environmental problems. Being on top of these before any herd of pigs is present on site is a great advantage that leads to a more likely successful pig farm.
Welfare of the Animals
There are a number of factors that make a site wholly unsuitable for a pig farm in terms of the welfare of the pigs. This can include an area that suffers from regular and high rainfall, a soil that doesn’t lend itself to good drainage, soil that is stony. It is essential that for your pigs to be comfortable that there is a dry lying area. A wet paddock brings with it many problems as water and mud can be trampled in and out of huts, leading to a higher likelihood of feed being wasted and trampled away from the feeding areas. This not only poses a problem of possible malnutrition in the short-term but a higher cost to ensure pigs are receiving the correct ration in future, to make up for the trampled feed being wasted.
Health of the Pigs
The more space you can provide your pigs the healthier they will be due to the low stocking density and the better chance of reducing the risk of disease as a result. Waterlogged and stony soils can cause damage to the pigs legs and feet, causing infection if not treated urgently and wet bedding can cause chilling and hypothermia.
The Pigs Environment
There are two issues to look out for when considering the environmental impact of a pig farm on the local surroundings. The first thing relates to nutrient losses. The farming of pigs can lead to high levels of nitrate and phosphorus building up in the soil due to the manure being deposited. If nitrate runs into streams and ground waters it can potentially cause pollution to drinking water sources. Phosphorus can have a similar impact, as it is lost through leaching and soil erosion. The EC Nitrate Directive ensures that Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) are designated in England and Wales. The Government issues these zones in areas where nitrate levels in the water exceed 50 mg/litre.
The second factor is soil erosion, which can have a massive impact on the economic prospects of the pig farm, removing topsoil that is naturally rich in nutrients and organic matter, whilst reducing water availability. Soil erosion and deposits of sediment from those areas can block drains, roads and property, and can also add to the risk of flood hazards in the area.
All of these problems can cause injury, illness and death to the pigs but also make it hard for personnel to move equipment and machinery on site. Creating the perfect environment for piglet rearing with these factors in mind will help you build a successful pig farm.