Agri HourHow to start a piggery - advice from a young farmer
─── ELSABÉ RICHARD 05:00 Mon, 05 Apr 2021
Farming with pigs has many advantages. Some of these advantages include the fact that they have fast growth rates and are relatively easy to raise.
This is according to 23-year-old livestock and crop farmer, Keneilwe Raphesu, from the Vaal Triangle.
Raphesu farms on 405 hectares of land with both crops and livestock which includes pigs and cattle.
She explains that there are two options to consider when farming with pigs, namely intensive or free-range farming. Intensive farming is when pigs are housed indoors, while free-range farming means that pigs are kept outdoors in big enough camps or areas where they can move around.
Raphesu personally chose the intensive farming method and says that this decision was made because theft is rife in the area. She also added that she had to consider wild animals who also pose a risk to her piggery.
“It’s easy for me to control, it makes it easy for me to feed [them] and it’s easy for me to help when it’s time for them to give birth. Also, when you start a piggery you need to consider your environment and water supply because pigs drink a lot of water. If you [choose] free-range farming, make sure there is sufficient shade for the pigs because they are very sensitive to sunburn,” Raphesu added.
She also advised people who are considering farming with pigs to do research on the different breeds of pigs. With that being said, she recommended buying breeds that are ready for production – for example, buying pigs that are in a weaning stage.
Another advantage is that pigs are pregnant for three months and could give birth to up to ten piglets at a time, said Raphesu. This could translate to one sow giving birth to up to 30 piglets in one year.
Raphesu shared that litter loss is one of the main challenges. Loss could happen because of post-birth sicknesses as well as when they do not have proper bedding during winter, they may die. She encouraged farmers to make use of straw or sawdust for bedding.
Furthermore, maintaining piglets can be hard work as they need iron and you must make sure that they are breastfed properly.
Also, animal diseases such as African Swine Fever (ASF) may pose a risk to your piggery.
OFM News previously reported that Raphesu shared that her vision for the future is to have a feedlot and provide meat to abattoirs and butcheries. “Honestly, when it comes to agriculture, it’s a food security industry. It will never end [because] we need it more than anything,” she adds.
Raphesu, who has an economics and international trade degree, received training with the Sernick Group regarding farming.