The most impressive pig producer in the world

19-07-2011 | |
John Gadd Topic: Pig Management

I am often asked “Which, of all the pig producers you have met – impressed you the most?”

“Easy,” I said. “30 years ago, I was speaking in New Zealand when a rather plain, plump lady came up at the end of the talk and asked a quite simple technical question. (Oh Lord, I thought to myself, another ‘goat-wife’ – this term being given by speakers to well-meaning and enthusiastic members of the audience who button-hole them after the talk, rather than asking questions from the floor – usually when the weary speaker is dying to slake his thirst in the bar! I’m told that ladies who keep goats are particually fond of doing this.)

She then asked another question which was more dififcult, followed by a third which had me properly stumped. “Careful, Gadd,” I said to myself. “This lady knows her stuff.”

I stopped being patronising as I’m sure I had been up to then…

Intrigued – I started to ask her a few questions about her own unit of about 50 sows. Within five minutes I was amazed at her obvious skill and knowlege about pigs. For example she formulated her own rations (of course) and showed considerable nutritional knowlege, even going so far as to use sensitivity analysis in their design! She knew more than I did about pig rearing.

“But where did you get all this knowlege?”, I asked her. “From writing to people like you,” she replied. An accolade I certainly didn’t deserve.

Good on you, New Zealand. You once had the most knowlegeable pig farmer in the world! With just 50 sows!

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