Senwes Scenario June/July 2018 - Page 27

AGRICULTURAL Pig farming Everything is about gaining kilograms “Don't behave like a pig,” I was thinking while I had to wash myself for biosecurity reasons in order to enter the area where the pigs are kept. It could not be further from the truth. We went to visit CP and Gerda Kriek at Taaibosch Piggery in Gauteng to learn more about this industry.  By Aubrey Kruger CP AND GERDA A boar and a sow are in control here, as indicated on the signs on the bathroom doors. CP and Gerda are both industrial engineers. Gerda grew up here and CP in Reitz. They got involved in the pork indus- try in 2012, which was supposed to last for three months - and has now become almost six years. But where does one start? “Identify and improve strengths.” In this instance it was genetics, management and staff and with "farming being in their blood", it was all systems go. ANIMAL HEALTH “We deal with animals only and produc- tion is directly linked to the health of our animals.” Prevention is better than cure and they use different management mea- sures to improve health, for instance by keeping sucking pigs from the same ori- gin together. “By focusing more on how effective medication is, you automatically focus on the health of your herds.” A decrease in costs was an additional surprise, but they warn: “Remember, the pork industry is output driven. You don't look at where you can save, but rather where you can gain kilograms. BUSINESS AND PERSONNEL 90 employees work at Taaibosch since it is a labour intensive farm. A sow unit of 2000 requires 24 workers according to CP, which produces approximately 90 pigs per week. TWO THEORIES They believe in two theories, namely that when something breaks, it needs to be repaired, and the theory of limitations. Quality programmes ensure health and biosecurity. The second - production is determined by limitations. They have one objective only, kilograms per pig. The environment, animal and human should be taken into account. The inten- sive nature of this type of farming must also be considered. CP says that they have a business which produces a live product.” PROFIT? Low margins and high volumes! “You have to go into it with everything you have,” warns CP. The most important are the pens, where a sow unit of 200 is rec- ommended. “If you start on a small scale, incorporate a niche market.” There is room, because consumers have lost their confidence in corporate companies.” The capital investment is R50 000 to R75 000 per sow, depending on the level of automation. The lifespan of the pens is 30 years - they break due to the fact that pigs are very inquisitive. PRICES The price of pork recovered to R28/kg in 2017. The current price is R16/kg at times, with a production cost of R21 - this paints the whole picture. This is the impact of listeriosis, which resulted in a significant loss of business over the short to medium term - 6 000 pigs per week can no longer be processed. THE DIFFERENT PHASES OF A PIGGERY Pigs have a 10-month schedule, which starts with the studding phase and arti- ficial insemination, which is a lot cleaner and not negotiable. The sow is in pig (pregnant) for 16 weeks, she stays in a pen with her 12 piglets, the weaning pro- cess takes up to 10 weeks and a week later she is inseminated again. PORK CONSUMPTION South Africans consume less than 5kg per 27 SENWES SCENARIO | WINTER 2018 25