EU PiG Newsletter March 2020


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EU PiG 2020 Grand Prix: Closed for Entries

The 2020 European The 2020 Grand Prix is now closed. This final EU-wide contest identified 160 examples of best practice for each of the nominated challenges within each of the project's four key themes, as shown below. Further to producers submitting details of their best practices, a panel of experts for each of the project themes are now undertaking a rigorous evaluation process, looking at technical and economic factors, in order to narrow them down to the top five best practices for each of the eight challenges. The eight winners will then be selected by RPIGs, project partners and stakeholders to become 2020 EU PiG Ambassadors.

Winning one of the eight Ambassador titles in the EU PiG Grand Prix gives producers the chance to receive international recognition of their success, share their best practice with other producers, get in touch with other Ambassadors to perhaps find their next big idea and achieve added motivation for farm staff.

Details of the 2020 winning Ambassadors will be available shortly. In the meantime, why not take a look at some of the winning best practices from 2019, as shown below. 

2019 Ambassador Focus: Health and Welfare

The EU PiG project seeks to share the benefits of on-farm best practice between producers to promote a sustainable pig industry across the EU.  This issue focuses on four of the project's 2019 Ambassadors and how they approach key health and welfare challenges.

Theme: Animal Welfare
Challenge: The quality of the farm atmosphere
Ambassador: Bart Vanackere, Belgium

Faeces and urine are separated and regularly removed from the finisher pig housing to reduce the production of ammonia on a Belgian unit run by Akviar. The sloped floor underneath the slatted flooring directs urine so it is collected in a urine gutter, while the faeces are scraped with a newly developed scraper towards a collection pit.

Theme: Animal Welfare
Challenge: Strategies to reduce aggression between animals
Ambassador: Anonymous, France

When piglets are mixed with other litters during lactation, it facilitates adaptation at weaning, reduces scratches and improves growth rates in the nursery accommodation, this French producer has found.


Theme: Health Management
Challenge: Influence of gut health on disease and production
Ambassador: Marco van Asten, Netherlands

A fermented liquid feed system is providing an alternative to zinc for integrated Dutch producer, the Van Asten group. The fermented feed works as a probiotic and lowers the pH to reduce the risk of bacteria.

Theme: Health Management
Challenge: Early warning of diseases and production errors
Ambassador: Pep Peraire, Spain

An app that monitors pig temperature is helping with early detection of hyperthermia, enabling this Spanish farm to manage disease outbreaks, provide treatments more effectively, reduce mortality and improve pig welfare.

The next issue will feature the four best practices from the 'Precision Production' and 'Meat Quality' themes.

EU PiG Partners meet in Córdoba, Spain 

Partners in the EU PiG consortium met in Córdoba, Spain on 3/4 March 2020, for the project's annual Consortium and Steering Group meeting. The first day involved presentations focused on the work and activities currently taking place and the priorities for the remaining months of the project. 

The day also included a visit to 'COVAP', Valle de los Pedroches, to view the supply chain producing premium products for export to the USA and China (reflective of the large-scale integrated busineses across Europe) that uses a traditional local breed and specialised production system native to this particular region of Spain. This has significant relevance for EU PiG as one of the 2020 challenges is looking to make a commercial success of native rare breeds. The COVAP team discussed the environmental implications of their production systems and the health benefits that have resulted in the majority of the pigs reaching their production line, being reared without antibiotics. These are key focus points for the EU PiG project.

A visit to an Iberian pig farm followed, to look at the primary production point and further expand on the circular nature of the production system and how this linked to the environmental benefits of this style of pig production. The host later demonstrated a free farrowing system he has utilised alongside group housing for lactating sows and their piglets, which was informed by EU PiG and the advice of the consortium.

These two industry visits were organised by EU PiG partner, Edgar Garcia Manzanilla, Teagasc.

The second day involved meetings focused on sustainability strategies of the EU PiG project and network. The meetings over the two days were hosted and chaired by the Project Coordinator, Ben Williams, AHDB.

Beta, partner for the work package relating to communication and dissemination and responsible for transferring the best practice, identified via EU PiG’s annual Grand Prix into user friendly tools and materials, updated partners about the status of the 2019 winning ambassadors. Sessions also took place regarding opportunities for partners to further disseminate these tools and materials during the remaining months of the project.

Ben, AHDB said: "The EU PiG Steering Group generated lots of discussion. As we move forwards with the project, our focus is not only maximising our dissemination activities to farmers and allied industry across the EU, but also determining our options for sustaining the consortium beyond the end of the project."


Please continue to visit the EU PiG website to keep up to date in terms of developments.  The website is being refreshed over the coming months in order to further facilitate knowledge exchange to help producers drive and adopt innovation on farm. 


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Exchanging knowledge, sharing innovation. Action to improve the pig industry.

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EU PiG Grand Prix

A contest to identify best practice in each of the project's four thematic areas.

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