The Barbados Agriculture Society (BAS) is not about to point an accusing finger at local feed manufacturer Pinnacle Feeds, over the cause of sickness on pig farms here.
Pig farmers had complained that the locally produced feed was making their piglets sick and was stunting growth.
However, Chief Executive Officer of BAS James Paul told Barbados TODAY at a meeting at the BAS headquarters at the Grotto, St Michael on Saturday he found only a few farmers were having problems.
“There were two farmers who were very vigorous in their complaints about the feed, but there were two other farmers who are top producers who have been using the feed historically and have had no complains,” Paul said.
While not ruling out the feed altogether, the BAS executive said it was possible other factors were contributing to the problem.
“The feed might not be the only ingredient; there could be other environmental issues existing on individual farms that might contribute too. It may have to do with animal husbandry, the management of farms, I don’t know. This is all up in the air,” he said.
Paul also said a number of farmers were selling their animals before they had reached the recommended weight of 50 kilogrammes, a practice that was prevalent at Christmas, he said.
“There would have been an increase [at Christmas]. The concern that we have in the industry is decline in the average weight of an animal . . . . You want to get your pigs marketed at a certain price but if you go below normal carcass weight the farmer does not make as much money as if they were at a normal size.”
Paul said the BAS would explore ways to encourage farmers to keep the best breeds for mating, as part of the association’s efforts to improve the genetic quality of the animals.
“What we are going to do is try to retain animals that have good breeding potential because that is a way of expanding the size of the breeding herd which is very important.
“One of the strategies we are going to use is artificial insemination as a means to try to introduce superior genetics to the herd within Barbados,” he explained.