Strong demand, competitive pricing and the wide-ranging implications of Brexit are likely to be common themes at this year’s British Pig & Poultry Fair. We profile some of the industry’s top leaders who will be speaking in the free Forums taking place in the main theatre each day, to identify key trends.

Pig Outlook – preparing for the road ahead

11:00 Tuesday and Wednesday

Hear from two industry specialists on the outlook for the pig sector and the challenges and opportunities you need to be ready for. With Andrew Saunders, Tulip, and Ed Barker, NPA. Chaired by Alistair Driver, Pig World Editor

 The next 12-24 months present some significant challenges and opportunities due to Brexit, changing consumer demands and general pig health – partly due to the required reduction in antibiotic use, says Andrew Saunders, agricultural director at Tulip. “But I am confident the UK pig industry can adapt to meet these challenges and we may see a more collaborative relationship between producers and processors as a result.”

With regards to Brexit Mr Saunders hopes that access to and from Europe remains as open for business as possible, but Ed Barker, senior policy adviser at the National Pig Association, cannot think of any sector that will be affected more by the outcome of the Brexit negotiations than the pig sector.

“Future trading arrangements will be critical for a sector that relies on two-way trade, while the industry also needs good outcomes on labour and regulation. We are getting a clearer picture all the time – the Fair will be an opportunity to discuss where we stand.”

Biographies:

Andrew Saunders

Tulip agriculture director and Dalehead Foods managing director

Mr Saunders began his career in practical pig production before joining Associated British Foods and establishing BQP, adding an abattoir/processing division before the business joined Dalehead Foods in 2000.

He is responsible for BQP’s pig production business, covering all aspects from grain supply to the abattoir, through to customers. He is responsible for purchasing of all pigs to meet Tulip requirements.

He has been a member of the AHDB Pork board for 15 years, and is also chair of British Meat Processors Association’s Pigmeat Committee.

Ed Barker

Senior policy adviser, National Pig Association. 

Mr Barker’s career has combined farming and politics, including working in the House of Commons as a parliamentary adviser for a Suffolk MP. Prior to this, he was national agricultural adviser for the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

Before joining the National Pig Association, Mr Barker undertook farm management consultancy work for Cheffins, managing a large mixed farming estate in Northamptonshire.

He was brought up on a Suffolk farm which was in pigs until 2006. He has a first class degree in European Politics and an MA in the same subject.

Alistair Driver (Chair)

Mr Driver is editor of Lewis Business Media titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. He is also the National Pig Association’s webmaster. He joined LBM in August 2016, having previously been political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years.

Brought up on a Leicestershire farm Mr Driver has been a regular farming media pundit, commenting on industry issues on Sky and BBC TV news, as well as Farming Today and regional radio.

End2End Traceability – Unlock the power of data for pigs

14:00 Tuesday and Wednesday

For the first time, farmers can follow every step that each pig takes from birth to slaughter, with health, growth and carcase data, plus DNA details to help them make production decisions and for end consumers to feel completely confident. With Mick Sloyan, AHDB, Strategy Director – Pork Strategy (Tues) and Lauren Turner, Pork Processing Projects Manager Pork Health, AHDB (Weds).

 This cutting edge project spearheaded by AHDB is presenting unique opportunities and for the first time will allow:

  • The ability to automate detailed information capture throughout the value chain
  • Individually track animals and their weight/growth throughout their lifetime
  • Feedback on individual animal slaughter data – including individual animal health through the Pig Health Scheme and CCIR
  • A platform from which the UK can create a world leading system from farm to fork traceability both through the use of UHF ear tags and DNA sampling/recording.

Find out more about the technology at the forum.

Biographies:

Mick Sloyan

Strategy director, AHDB Pork

Mr Sloyan joined the Meat and Livestock Commission as an economist in 1977 after obtaining a BSc in Agricultural Economics and an MSc in Agricultural Policy, having taken his first steps into the meat industry at the age of 14 as a butcher’s delivery boy. He worked in a range of areas including market analysis and long-term forecasting for the British meat industry before specialising in the pig industry in 1999.  He is chairman of the International Meat Secretariat (IMS) pork committee and the animal care committee.

Lauren Turner

Pork processing projects manager in pork health, AHDB

After completing her Agriculture degree at Harper Adams University as a pig industry scholar, Ms Turner re-located to East Anglia to work for an animal feed company selling compound feeds. She subsequently moved to AHDB in August 2017. Her role is very varied, including the management of the pig health and inspection schemes, as well as traceability throughout the supply chain.

Profiting from pigs without antibiotics

15:00 Tuesday and Wednesday

Hear how to keep reducing antibiotic use while maintaining high pig health and performance. With Joshua Onyango, Livestock Health Consultant, Innovation for Agriculture and Paul Thompson, Garth Pig Practice,

The UK pig sector has made some good progress with a 34% reduction in total antibiotic use, but there is still room for improvement, says Joshua Onyango, livestock health consultant at Innovation for Agriculture. “Some EU countries, including Sweden have reported lower use of antibiotics than the UK and without compromising the welfare of pigs.” He will be profiling case studies from Sweden to help British farmers cut antibiotic use further.

Paul Thompson, a vet at Garth Pig Practice, will explore areas on which farmers should focus to target antibiotic reduction. “The pig industry is committed to ongoing reduction of antibiotic use, especially the critically important antibiotics,” he says.

Key areas include the farrowing house – focusing on management, vaccination and enhanced use of electrolytes, says Mr Thompson. “In the post-weaning phase we can look to shorten the period of antibiotics and use a more targeted approach, for example using in-water medication as opposed to in-feed. Obviously, the challenge is you need to have the infrastructure to be able to deliver these – a decent water system you can access.”

The third key area is respiratory diseases in grower/finishers, which can revolve around vaccination and targeting antibiotics more precisely to small groups if and when we need them. “It is just about doing everything we do better.”

Biographies:

Paul Thompson

Veterinarian, Garth Pig Practice

Mr Thompson graduated from Cambridge University Vet school in 1986, when he joined Garth Veterinary Group, subsequently becoming a partner. Garth was sold in March 2015 to Origin and since then he has continued to work for the business both as a pig vet and director with responsibility for the group’s pig work. He is actively involved in veterinary societies, for many years treasurer of the Pig Veterinary Society.

Josh Onyango

Livestock health consultant, Innovation for Agriculture

Mr Onyango has wealth of experience in the animal health sector, including having run a private veterinary practice in Kenya and being in charge of livestock health in large farms in Kenya, Canada and UK.  He has published several peer reviewed articles in veterinary epidemiology and other disciplines. Having worked as a lecture and higher education programme leader he joined Innovation for Agriculture, where he is leading the Antibiotic Project.

 

Forums take place at the same time on both days of the Fair and are free to attend. The forum theatre is located adjacent to hall 3 and will be clearly marked on all Fair maps on the day.