A new scheme is helping Welsh pig farmers lift herd profitability and performance by improving herd health.

Launched at the recent Wales’ Pig and Poultry Event, which was arranged by Menter Moch Cymru and Farming Connect, the new initiative will provide financial assistance for pig herd health planning. Eligible pig farmers can access 80 per cent funding towards an initial herd health plan, followed by further support in subsequent years for its review.

Pig industry expert Mick Sloyan explained: “One of the biggest impacts on profitability is the health of your herd, if you have poor pig health, you have poor performance and your cost of production will be higher.

“You need to be on top of your game. Herd health plans are a no-brainer, if you don’t plan for the health of your herd you are taking an enormous risk.’’

Melanie Cargill, Menter Moch Cymru project manager said: “Herd health planning can have a significant impact on the efficiency and bottom line of a pig enterprise.

“The launch of this new financial support initiative will help farmers to work with vets to put health plans in place and monitor their effectiveness over the years to come.

"This is a great opportunity for Welsh pig keepers in Wales to assess the health of their herd and, with the assistance of their vet, establish a practical, tailored health plan to improve productivity and profitability.”

Christianne Glossop, Welsh Government chief veterinary officer said the project was particularly important in the face of the threat of emerging diseases, such as African swine fever, arriving in the UK. Pig health planning and good biosecurity are an important part of preventing the introduction and spread of disease within the national herd.”

The project has produced a practical and informative factsheet, ‘Animal Health Planning for Pigs – Maximize your herds potential’, which is available at mentermochcymru.co.uk.

Over the past sic months, Menter Moch Cymru, in partnership with the Wales Veterinary Science Centre, Animal Health Services and Iechyd Da, have been delivering bespoke CDP training for Welsh vets to ensure they are confident and knowledgeable on how to carry out a herd health plan for a pig enterprise.

Theproject is funded by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.