Teagasc is to launch a new pig manager course next year as well as develop its existing Level 5/6 pig courses as part of its future plans for the pig sector.

Ciaran Carroll of Teagasc Moorepark also told the recent Teagasc Pig Conference that a new course co-ordinator would be appointed by Teagasc to oversee all aspects of pig education.

The need to develop a Level 6 course, he said, and a Pig Farm Managers course (Level 7) are for those who wish to progress their careers in the pig sector. The Level 6 course would be subject to demand and the Level 7 would be look at in conjunction with UCD or Dundalk IT.

He said that while over 50% of the national herd (84,000 sows) are accounted for through the e-Profit Monitor with Teagasc, that number needs to increase significantly.

Teagasc Specialist Pig Development Officers provide an independent business technology service, he said, based on the analysis of herd performance data, feed costs and financial records and benchmarking these against industry averages using the Teagasc e-Profit Monitor System.

Meanwhile, Teagasc expects is new €3.5m pig R&D facility at Moorepark to be completed by April 2016. This facility, he said, will allow independent applied research to take place. He said that the return from research for pig farmers is around €25:1, when the research findings are adopted.

As a result of the funding from the Teagasc/IFA Joint Programme levy, Teagasc has appointed three specialist Pig Development Officers, two Research Officers and a Research Technician.

Such skilled staff, he said, are essential to delivering the high level of technical performance essential in pig production.