Demographic and production practices of pig producers trading at saleyards in eastern Australia

N. Schembri, Marta Hernandez-Jover, J.-A Toribio, Patricia Holyoake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


ObjectiveTo gather information on the demographics, motivations, marketing strategies and rearing techniques of producers who trade pigs at livestock markets in eastern Australia.MethodsA 2-page postal survey was administered to 815 pig producers trading pigs at six livestock markets in eastern Australia. Preliminary demographic and managerial practices were qualitatively and quantitatively determined. Logistic regression analysis was used to provide an insight to those practices that could pose a risk for exotic disease introduction and/or spread.ResultsA response rate of 68.7% (505 survey questionnaires) was achieved. Most respondents (73.1%) resided in regional areas and 65.5% of these were classed as ‘small-scale’ (<100 sows). Herd size was significantly (P < 0.0001) associated with the use of veterinary services, with smaller herds less likely to consult a veterinarian. In addition, peri-urban producers (24.8%) tended (P = 0.051) to contact veterinarians more frequently than regional producers (15.2%). Motivations for keeping pigs differed by herd size, nationality and producer type. One-third of respondents trading pigs used more than one method to market pigs, with marketing strategies differing by herd size. Producers with smaller herd sizes kept pigs as a secondary source of income, as a hobby or for home consumption (P < 0.0001).ConclusionKey risk areas for exotic disease introduction and spread identified in this study included lack of veterinary contact, motivations for keeping pigs other than financial, marketing pigs privately with no formal transaction documentation and the co-production of pigs with ruminant and domestic bird species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-516
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


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