Pig producers should assess options for bedding now
Pig producers must plan ahead and consider their options for bedding material as straw is likely to be in short supply this year following the spring drought. BPEX is compiling a bulletin on the alternatives to straw bedding and advice on how to make straw go a bit further.
BPEX knowledge transfer manager, Colin Stone, reports that there is virtually no old crop barley straw for sale in East Anglia this week but wheat straw is available to farmers willing to travel some distance to collect it.
“The drought in East Anglia means straw yield will be significantly down – in some crops in the region by as much as 25%. As a result, pig producers are keen to buy straw by the number of bales produced rather than by the acre. Many will also be looking to reduce straw wastage.”
BPEX recommendations include:
• Protecting stored straw from the elements as far as possible, using plastic sheeting for outdoor stacks
• Minimising dunging areas
• Ensuring drainage is good
• Keeping a close eye on drinkers and feeders to avoid unnecessary spoiling
Producers can also consider alternative bedding materials such as low quality grass hay, maize stalks, pea and bean straw, rye straw, shredded newspaper, hemp and woodchips or coarse sawdust.
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