AHDB’s popular Pig Health Scheme will return this autumn with an enhanced benchmarking feature, following a coronavirus-enforced hiatus.
Under the free-to-join scheme, assessors monitor English pigs at slaughter for the prevalence and severity of 12 different conditions.
This enables producers and their vets to track the health of their herd, with data being used to inform management changes to reduce levels of disease.
The scheme’s relaunch follows the suspension of assessments in March 2020 due to the increasing pressures plants and assessors were facing.
Lauren Turner, AHDB animal health scientist said: “The industry put a huge effort into navigating the early stages of the pandemic and coping under extreme strain.
“But we know from talking to producers just how many are keen to start receiving herd health data once more.”
Through September and October, the scheme’s main priority is to deliver refresher training for assessors, she explained.
“We are fortunate that 10 of our existing assessors are now available and ready to kickstart the scheme once they have received their refresher training.
“To bolster numbers, we also have a group of seven new assessors who will undergo the full training provided by VetScore.”
According to AHDB, the plan is for a phased return of scheme assessments at several plants.
Assessment dates will be dependent on the refresher training and initial quality assurance visits, it added, but details will be shared as soon as they are available.
Despite assessments being suspended for 18 months, AHDB has been working in the background to introduce a new benchmarking feature.
This will enable producers and vets to see where their farm sits in comparison to the national herd. This will be available after the first quarter of data collection.