Outdoor pig production in Western Australia. An on-farm study to document performance and management practices on extensive pig farms.
This paper presents data, collected between 1991 and 1995, relating to the management and performance of 10 extensive piggeries in the south west of Western Australia. The herd sizes varied from 15 to 73 sows and capital investment varied from $144 to $2,000 per sow. Labour costs also varied widely, from $84 to $996 per sow per year. Only 2 of the 10 herds exceeded the PigStats 95 average of 20.1 pigs weaned/sow/year. Pre-weaning mortality was high, and averaged 28.7%. Nine of the herds participated in the state Pig Health Monitoring Scheme and their pigs were inspected at slaughter to ascertain disease levels. Sarcoptic mange was present in all herds and round worms in 60%. Pneumonia appeared to be less prevalent than in intensively housed herds. Antibiotic usage was low. Rations were mainly farm-mixed and their composition varied widely. Bacon pigs averaged 13.2 mm backfat at the P2 site and 65.6 kg dressed carcass weight. This report documents a type of pig farming – small sideline piggeries on commercial farms - that is disappearing from most parts of Australia. In the early 1990s there was a growing, renewed interest in outdoor pig farming, both small lifestyle or hobby piggeries, and also much larger commercial piggeries. The latter are mostly managed quite differently from the farms documented in this report.