100% New Zealand PorkPigCare Accredited

Farming Styles

Ways to Farm Pigs in New Zealand

Today New Zealand farmers use a variety of housing systems and farming practices to take good care of their pigs while making sure they can sell them for a fair price. In New Zealand, pigs are kept both indoors and outdoors. 

Pigs need to be actively cared for to grow well. They need shade and warmth, as well as dry, draught free, clean shelter. Pigs need a balanced daily diet. From time to time, pigs also need one-on-one care and help from the farmer. 

Many farmers choose to house their pigs indoors where they are well protected from the weather and the ventilation, temperature and humidity can all be controlled at the best levels for the pigs.

Pigs are farmed outdoors in parts of New Zealand, but this can only work where there is low rainfall and free-draining soil conditions, as well as a moderate climate. In New Zealand, these conditions are usually in some parts of the South Island, particularly in Canterbury where many pigs are farmed outdoors. Pigs do not thrive in very muddy paddocks. 

All pig farming needs expert stockmanship and good care to avoid health problems in pigs, competition for feed and social stress or bullying. All of these things can impact badly on the health and welfare of the pig.

New Zealand's farmers choose a system that fits their farm, their weather and their pigs. Our industry uses 'PigCare™' to make sure whichever farming style is used the pigs are properly looked after.

Find out more about PigCare™ 

Farming System Definitions:

Free Range: 

All the pigs live in open paddocks. Shelter must be provided and all pigs must be able to move in and out of the shelter and around the paddocks freely.

During gestation sows are farmed in groups in paddocks with huts for shelter, shade, and also wallows.  When sows farrow they are provided with individual, warm, dry, draught free, clean huts with straw.

Pigs are generally weaned at around 4 weeks. 

After weaning the grower pigs are moved in ‘groups’, housed in shelters with the ability to move in and out of the shelter and around the paddock freely.

Where can this system be used: commercial free-range farming can only happen in places where the weather, climate and soil type (free draining) are suitable, such as in parts of the South Island.

Farming systems for sows:

Outdoor breeding: 

During gestation sows are farmed in groups in paddocks with huts for shelter, shade, and also wallows.  When sows farrow they are provided with individual, warm, dry, draught free, clean huts with straw.

Piglets are weaned off the sow at around 4 weeks of age.

Where can this breeding system be used: regions where soil types and weather are suitable (such as Canterbury), and there is a ready supply of straw for bedding.

Estimated Percentage of New Zealand’s commercial sows that are farmed in this way: 40 - 45%

 

Indoor breeding in groups:

Sows live indoors in groups during their gestation period. They can be accommodated in groups of varying sizes on straw based or solid floor systems.

When sows farrow, a system involving a specific area for the sow within a pen is commonly used. This is the most common farrowing facility in indoor systems world-wide. Such a farrowing system prevents piglets from being over-laid by the sow. As well as protecting the piglets this system enables individual feeding and health care for the sow, and the ability to cater for the different temperature requirements of the sow and her piglets. 

Piglets are weaned off the sow at around 4 weeks of age,

Where can this breeding system be used: anywhere in New Zealand.

Estimated Percentage of New Zealand’s commercial sows that are farmed in this way: 55 - 60%

 

Farming systems for weaners, growers and finishers:

At weaning piglets are transferred from the farrowing area to another facility. They are accommodated in groups in a variety of housing systems, designed to meet the environmental requirements of pigs as they grow. These can be constructed from timber or steel framing with varying amounts of insulation. Walls can be constructed of concrete panels, concrete blocks, plywood and ‘freezer panel’ walls with corrugated iron or ‘freezer panel’ roof construction. Ventilation systems include fully enclosed controlled environments to more reliance on natural ventilation using curtains and roof vents.  Open fronted pole barns or hooped framed shelters covered with a water proof fabric are often used in conjunction with straw or sawdust bedding as a deep litter system. This type of building is often referred to as ecobarns.

April 2016

 

Back to Top
honeypot@spinningplanet.co.nz