Teagasc is currently holding their National Pig Conference.
The venue for the conference yesterday was the Horse & Jockey Hotel, Thurles, Co Tipperary and today (Wednesday, October 23) the conference is being held at Hotel Kilmore, Cavan.
The theme of the conference is 'Focusing on the Future', with all presentations encorporating this theme.
Margins in the pig sector in Ireland took a significant turn for the better early this year.
This was as a result of the disease related difficulties in Chinese pig production.
With the on-going drop in Chinese production and increased exports from Europe and elsewhere into China, the indications are that this situation will continue for many months to come.
The topics for this year’s conference cover a wide range of subjects including the future implications of the current Chinese situation, feed costs and merchant credit, weaning management and on-farm reinvestment.
The guest speaker this year, Professor John Mabry from Iowa State University, is looking at the economic impact of genetic progress on fitness traits.
This year’s conference also includes a panel discussion to discuss the topical issues of the day.
Teagasc will also take this opportunity to highlight the exciting things producers can look forward to from the Teagasc Pig Development Department in the year ahead.
John Mabry is a Professor Emeritus of Qualitative Genetics in Iowa State University.
Through his long career John has been intensively involved in the pork industry through extension services, education and research.
His acclaimed research focuses on maximising profitability of swine production systems through developing breeding strategies, specifically by developing and implementing cross-herd genetic evaluation programmes and using data management systems.
Prof Mabry’s lifetime of work in pig genetics, both home and internationally, has been widely recognised by the honours bestowed on him.
These include: National Pork Board Distinguished Service Award, National Swine Improvement Federation Distinguished Service Award, American Society of Animal Science Animal Industry Award.
His paper at the conference is of interest to all in attendance and John is taking part in a panel discussion when he will give his insights on the topics discussed.
The number of pigs produced per sow per year and the growth performance on Irish pig farms has improved significantly over the last number of years.
In 2012, the output was 24.5 pigs produced/sow/year, with an average live weight at sale of 104.5kg.
In 2018, this increased to 26.9 pigs produced per sow with an average live weight at sale of 112.6kg.
As a consequence of the increased sale weight, and the number of pigs produced per sow per year, this has resulted in a 15% increase in the amount of pigmeat produced per sow in the last six years.
A copy of the papers from the conferences is available to view at https://www.teagasc.ie/publications/