Stockperson Plus

A programme of problem-solving workshops designed to build on existing pig husbandry knowledge.

The course naturally follows on from the Stockperson Development Scheme (SDS) to further develop the technical skills of pig unit staff.

It is more technically advanced than the SDS and for the 2023/24 season includes new topics, as requested by stockpeople and their managers; there are also options for indoor and outdoor units. 

Sessions are interactive and use problem-solving exercises, which are applied to ‘virtual’ farm scenarios.

The course is suitable for stockpeople who:

  • Have significant previous experience, or
  • Have completed the Stockperson Development Scheme, or
  • Want to progress to become a supervisor or manager

The training is delivered by experts in their field and, for the 2023/24 season, all sessions will be delivered online via Microsoft Teams.

This will reduce the time participants need to take out of the business and provide an opportunity for more people to take part in the training.

Course dates 

The first training sessions of the 2023/24 course will take place in late October 2023.

Most sessions will be held on Mondays and Tuesdays and will usually run as a half-day, starting at 12:30pm and finishing at 5:00pm.

If you have any questions or last-minute booking requests, please call: 01904 771218.

Download a training application form

Advanced breeding and service management Monday 23 October
Advanced farrowing management (indoor) Monday 20 November
Advanced farrowing management (outdoor) Tuesday 21 November
Advanced gilt management and planning
Monday 8 January
Advanced weaner management (indoor) Monday 22 January
Advanced weaner management (outdoor) Tuesday 23 January
Water management, testing, regulations, and maintenance of systems Monday 18 March
Euthanasia, deadstock, and maintenance of equipment Tuesday 19 March
Assurance schemes and auditing TBC

Session topics and learning outcomes

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • Select from the best in your herd using sow breeding values and genetic lines
  • Recognise the importance and influence of birthweight and weaned weight on lifetime performance
  • Understand the importance of skeletal development, slow growth and the role of nutrition 
  • Understand the importance of stimulation and puberty on performance
  • Understand the importance of heat synchronisation, the use of prostaglandins and the discipline of the daily routine
  • Understand the vaccination policy and immunity for gilts
  • Improve the management of the gilt through to parity two to improve gilt retention rates
  • Effectively plan the flow of gilts coming through to the breeding herd

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • Understand the heat cycle and use heat mapping to influence the timing of service and maintain the target number of servings for each batch
  • Understand the impact of post-farrowing nutrition and how it affects follicle quality and survival rates
  • Correctly identify regular from irregular returns, expected ratios as well as contributing factors and mitigation strategies
  • Understand empty days and how these affect economics, breeding herd productivity and efficiency
  • Identify the reasons for skipping a heat and the benefits this can have on sow productivity
  • Plan cull strategies based on parity profile and batch performance, and forecast gilt replacements effectively
  • Understand and explain the advantages and disadvantages of different batch systems
  • Scan confidently and recognise the impact on herd efficiency and service group forecasting

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • Better prepare the farrowing accommodation, including the management of the environmental controls and settings
  • Understand the use of different nesting materials and how they help with the farrowing process
  • Recognise changes to the consistency of sow dung and understand how feed supplements can reduce problematic farrowing and improve colostrum production
  • Understand the principles of inducing farrowing and how it can aid farrowing room management
  • Adapt the feeding schedule to reflect sow and gilt body condition score (BCS) and maintain intake during the suckling period
  • Understand and explain the importance of water intake and water quality for improving appetite and milk production
  • Adapt management routines to improve piglet growth and reduce mortality within the farrowing room
  • Prepare the piglet gut for weaning using creep feed and/or alternative feed supplement systems, and recognise the importance of hygiene
  • Better understand the causes and treatment of shoulder sores 
  • Implement practices to control flies, mice, and other pests within the farrowing room

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • Better prepare the farrowing accommodation and appropriately distribute sows and gilts in the farrowing paddocks
  • Approach bed management with a greater depth of understanding e.g. the use of the different nesting materials and how they help with the farrowing process, positioning of huts and the disciplined daily routine of bed preparation according to the time of year
  • Adapt the feeding schedule to reflect sow and gilt body condition score (BCS) and maintain intake during the suckling period
  • Understand and explain the importance of water intake and water quality for improving appetite and milk production
  • Identify and understand metritis, mastitis and agalactia (MMA) as well as what changes to the dung can indicate
  • Improve management of the small pig during the suckling period and understand the options for creep feeding outdoors
  • Manage farrowing through periods of extreme temperatures, avoiding drops in feed intake and weaning weights
  • Identify and mange lactational oestrus and understand the reasons behind it
  • Implement practices to control vermin and other pests and maintain fence management in the outdoor paddocks

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • Better prepare the weaner accommodation, with a deeper understanding of cleaning and disinfectant practices including the water delivery system
  • Identify and explain the key parts of the ventilation system, heating equipment, sensors and their basic maintenance
  • Understand the relationship between lighting and pig behaviour after weaning, including the potential impact on feed and water intake
  • Identify where improvements can be made to management and handling techniques when weaners arrive and leave the unit, and during the vaccination process, group sizing and sexing, etc.
  • Explain the challenges that weaned pigs face during the first 14 days after weaning and how these relate to pig health, immunity and gut development
  • Adapt practices to improve feed and water intake during the first 48 hours after weaning and recognise the impact of social feeding behaviours
  • Identify and explain the importance of water hygiene and availability during the growing period and how to track feed intake against growth targets
  • Understand what the colour and consistency of dung can indicate during the early stages of the growing period
  • Identify the triggers and early warning signs of potential health and growth challenges
  • Understand the importance of vermin control and incorporate management routines to control and record activity

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • Prepare the weaner accommodation taking into account the requirements at different times of the year
  • Identify where improvements can be made to management and handling techniques when weaners arrive and leave the unit and during the vaccination process, group sizing and sexing, etc.
  • Explain the challenges that weaned pigs face during the first 14 days after weaning and how these relate to pig health, immunity and gut development
  • Adapt practices to improve feed and water intake during the first 48 hours after weaning and recognise the impact of social feeding behaviours
  • Identify and explain the importance of water hygiene and availability during the growing period and how to track feed intake against growth targets
  • Understand what the colour and consistency of dung can indicate during the early stages of the growing period
  • Recognise and meet the environmental requirements of the weaned pig during the growing period
  • Identify the triggers and early warning signs of potential health and growth challenges
  • Understand the importance of vermin control and incorporate management routines to control and record activity

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • Understand the legislation for both mains and borehole water
  • Understand and explain the effects of poor-quality water on pig performance
  • Establish good practice when taking water samples and recognise the value of sampling throughout the unit 
  • Interpret your test results and understand the implications of high readings
  • Identify biofilm in the water system and establish an effective cleaning routine
  • Understand the importance of regular cleaning and maintenance of water systems
  • Understand flow rates and identify weaknesses in the water delivery system
  • Measure water usage and prepare for emergency situations

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • Understand the requirements and implications of the Code of practice for the welfare of pigs, including the impact of on-farm euthanasia, and the stockperson’s legal obligation to livestock and the employer
  • Identify the correct handling and restraint methods needed for different ages of pigs
  • Understand and identify the correct captive bolt shell loadings for different ages of stock
  • Recognise the differences between penetrating and non-penetrating captive bolts
  • Understand the importance of regular maintenance and cleaning of equipment according to the manufacturer’s guidelines
  • Implement best practice biosecurity, including recording of deadstock, storage and collections
  • Understand the maintenance and legislation required for on-farm incinerators

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • Understand the principles of the auditing process and how assurance schemes and auditing came about
  • Recognise the differences between assurance schemes
  • Establish and maintain your own farm’s audit standards
  • Understand common audit pitfalls and reasons for non-compliances
  • Address any non-compliances and document on an action plan
  • Manage short-notice audits
  • Explain the consequences of failed farm audits

Payment details

Download a training application form

The cost of each session is £40+VAT* per person.

Once your place(s) has been confirmed, you will receive an invoice for the training.

Your booking will be confirmed on receipt of the final payment.

The booking/payment deadline for each course is 14 days prior to the course start date.

If sessions become fully booked, we will try to offer additional training dates.

Note: Non-levy payers and allied industry can apply to take part in the training, however, levy payers will be given priority. The cost to non-levy payers is £100+VAT per session.

To pay by card

Contact the AHDB levy team on 024 7647 8605 and quote the course name, date and attendee name(s).

To pay by cheque

Make cheques payable to Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board; quote the course name, date and attendee name(s) on the reverse and send to:

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

FAO Levy Team

Middlemarch Business Park

Siskin Parkway East

Coventry

CV3 4PE

To make a BACS payment

Account Name: AHDB
Sort Code: 20-00-00
Account Number: 70010901
IBAN: GB21BARC20000070010901
Swift/BIC Code: BARCGB22

*Discounted rate for AHDB levy payers and their employees.

If you are interested in taking part in a future course, email Pork.Training@ahdb.org.uk or get in touch with Andrew Palmer.

Image of staff member Andrew Palmer

Andrew Palmer

Knowledge Exchange Relationship Manager (East) - Pork

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