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BPEX Seeks Ideas and Entrepreneurial Spirit

by 5m Editor
30 June 2009, at 8:33am

UK - Rekindling the entrepreneurial spirit in UK pig producers and helping them put new ideas into practice. That is the aim of the BPEX Innovation Fund.

Established in 2008, the initiative has already provided thousands of pounds to enable producers, often in partnership with the allied industry, to develop projects they believe will make life easier and more profitable.

"We believe this is the best way to spread new practices across the industry, helping people to look at things in a different light," said BPEX chairman, Stewart Houston.

"We want to promote innovation and there is still plenty of cash available.

"The industry has been bogged down in the struggle to survive for too long. Now things are a little easier and producers have more time to experiment with, more efficient and perhaps more profitable ways to work with pigs, or to manage their farms and we want to help them."

Mr Houston said projects eligible for support from the Innovation Fund could involve things such as new training methods, environmental compliance, health, equipment, transport, feeding – anything to improve cost competitiveness and technical competence to help rebuild industry confidence to invest in the future.

"This pump priming is for anybody who has a good idea, but does not have the cash to develop it. All they need to do is talk to their local BPEX Knowledge Transfer (KT) manager and then we will decide whether or not the idea has merit and should be taken forward. It is as simple as that and people can apply for these funds at any time now," he said.

Applications for funding would be judged on innovation, industry need, value for money and industry impact. Each the successful projects would be used as a case study to spread the knowledge gained to other producers.

Ideas that have already won funding and have provided blueprints for the rest of the industry include:

  • The creation of a portable weigh/draft system to make the process of weighing, selecting and loading pigs more efficient and reduce stress and labour costs.
  • Evaluation of water intake in grower/finisher pigs as a measure of sub-clinical disease and provide an early warning indicator of emerging disease.
  • Verispec DNA traceability – to demonstrate that full traceability from farm to stud to plate is achievable and to develop opportunities for full farm-to-fork traceability as a special selling point.
  • Adapting and piloting an on-farm labour recording system to determine efficiency savings that can be gained through better allocation of paid labour.
  • To investigate the effect of increasing artificial light in naturally lit sow housing on seasonal infertility and demonstrate the benefits of investing in this area.

Individual applicants for Innovation Fund support must be BPEX levy payers and applicant groups should contain at least one BPEX levy payer. Once a project has been approved for funding, BPEX will provide ongoing support in all areas, as appropriate, from a member of its KT team.

For further information, contact your local KT Manager - details and application forms are available on the BPEX web site [click here] or e-mail kt@bpex.org.uk.