Pig Farming in New Zealand: Breeds, How to Start

Pig farming can be a rewarding and potentially lucrative business in New Zealand. The demand for protein has increased in the food supply chain, and pig products are well suited to meet this need. With vast land expanses in New Zealand, there are plenty of opportunities to raise livestock for profit, but pig farming is unique compared to sheep or cattle. Let’s check out more information about Pig farming in New Zealand below.

Pig Farming in New Zealand
Image Source

Important points to know about pig farming New Zealand

  • Pig farming is unique in New Zealand compared to other animals such as sheep, cattle, deer, and goats. Pigs are not primarily grazing animals. But they are also different from social and behavioral, and they need more shelter. 
  • Pigs need shelter and controlled temperature. But pigs also require social interaction and separate breeding or farrowing. In addition, most farms have specialized facilities for the growing needs of piglets for rearing, farrowing, and weaning. 
  • In New Zealand, about 621,000 pigs are born each year, 66% in the South Island and 34% in the North Island. 
  • In New Zealand, 20% of pig farms are free farms. Free farm means that pigs raised for the market are finished indoors. 
  • In New Zealand, outdoor breeds are about 20% of pig farms. In this method, sows and piglets live outside. Once the pig’s milk is weaned, they are taken inside to be raised in the market.
  • In New Zealand, 35% of farmers keep their pigs indoors. In this, pregnant sows live in sow stalls. Birth sows are then transferred to farrowing crates. 
  • Another 25% of farmers in New Zealand use farrowing crates but do not sow stalls. 

Pig welfare standards 

The New Zealand Pork Board introduced the PigCare accreditation program to reassure consumers about pig welfare. But SAFE New Zealand found that some farms with PigCare accreditation are capable of rearing their pigs. In the New Zealand pork industry, you can ensure that it maintains good animal welfare standards for pigs by choosing pork products born and raised in New Zealand. The New Zealand pig herd has one of the highest health conditions in the world.

In case you miss this: Earning 20 Lakh Per Year from Raising Pigs – A Success Story of a Pig Farmer

Pig Shelter
Image Source

Then this means that pigs born and raised in New Zealand do not suffer from many severe and debilitating pests and diseases caused by pigs in other countries. New Zealand Pork or NZPork is the statutory industry board that works to support commercial pig farmers in New Zealand. NZPork and farmers are proud that New Zealand pork, raised from New Zealand-bred and reared pigs, is good-tasting, safe, and suitable for consumers, and has productive features including world-class animal health, welfare, and environmental sustainability. 

It facilitates the Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) application on farms, including all regulatory requirements. Increasing consumer perceptions of pork from pigs born and raised in New Zealand forms industry positions on production methods. The industry, for example, has taken an agreed stand that it does not use extra-growth hormones and has issued a declaration confirming the status of the animal required for regulation. 

Pig farming systems in New Zealand

New Zealand has a variety of pig farming methods suitable for different seasons, farm sizes, productivity, breeds, and lifestyles. Pigs need shelter, a comfortable temperature, a balanced diet, and complex social, health, and reproductive needs. Then, they must be managed safely and humanely while conducting profitable operations. New Zealand commercial pig farmers have adopted farming methods that they believe are best for their animals to meet their needs. There are mainly three styles for commercial pig farming in New Zealand;

Indoor pig farming

In New Zealand, indoor pig farming accounts for about 55% of all pig farms. This farming system enables the farmers to control the pig’s environment and its effects more carefully. It is the ability to distribute pigs to meet their developmental needs more ideally depending on their stage of development or reproduction stage. They can occur in any climate as the elements will only determine the level of insulation. 

Many farmers in New Zealand prefer indoor farming because they believe it allows them to take better care of their environment and provide the best care for modern animals. Sows are kept indoors in groups during pregnancy. When they give birth, they are individually housed in special facilities that are easy to design to protect pigs, stay clean, and meet the different temperature requirements of sow and their piglets. 

In case you miss this: Pig Farming in Switzerland: Breeds, How to Start

Pig Farm
Image Source

Different types of housing systems are used to keep pigs after weaning. Pigs can thrive mainly in a diverse environment that provides shelter from the elements, space, and access to food and water. Their food and temperature needs are adjusted to meet their needs. 

Outdoor pig farming or Free farmed

It is an alternative to indoor pig farming and comprises the other 45% of New Zealand pig farms. It can take the form of either Free Farmed Pig Farm. These systems generally have temperate climates, relatively low precipitation, and dry land soils that primarily limit their geographical range to the South Island. In New Zealand, most outdoor pig farms are farmed for free with an outdoor breeding herd that lives permanently outside but with access to a clean and temperature-controlled shelter. The outdoor system also has a controlled indoor component where pigs are raised after weaning. 

Free-range pig farming

The free-range method accounts for only 2% of pig farms in New Zealand. Like the free-farm method, this method also has outdoor breeding herds with access to shelter. The main difference from the free farm is that the free-range pig farms have sheltered the outdoor pens for the pigs while weaning and rearing before they move out, ultimately when they are in their farming period. 

Free-range means that sows and boars live outside their entire lives and are protected and sheltered from the elements. The sows give birth in individual huts, in which they can move freely in and out. After weaning, the pigs are reared on bedding in barns. 

New Zealand Pig Breeders Association 

It is an incorporated non-profit organization for those interested in owning and breeding pigs. The association’s goals include;

  • They are promoting and encouraging the breeding of pigs. 
  • This association maintains purity and improves the pig breeds. 
  • Keep a register and publish a herd book. 
  • Encourage the display of breed pigs. 
  • Help train and recommend pig judges for shows. 
  • Provide information on pig care and breeding. 
  • The association produces newsletters each year, informing its members about the activities carried out by the association and any issues that may arise that may affect the breeding and rearing of the pig breeds. 

In case you miss this: Common Mistakes in Pig Farming: For First Time Pig Owners

Pig Farm Fence
Image Source

Raising healthy pig

Pigs need social interaction with each other and the health and nutrition of a healthy pig. Pigs have some health problems that can be overcome by timely capture and proper treatment. Pig health begins with their shelter because they cannot effectively thermoregulate. They need warm, draught-free, dry, comfortable, and clean housing to truly thrive. Dirty or unhealthy conditions encourage parasites, catch other diseases, and can destroy your pig.

Similarly, crowded conditions can encourage the spread of disease and cause hierarchical conflicts, especially during the breeding season. Sows are very competitive and can bully each other to compete for the lead. To ensure they can feed enough, it is often necessary to separate the weak ones. Pigs are more susceptible to diseases and can be transmitted to piglets.

For this reason, sows are often isolated in clean, fresh, regularly changed beds and shelters to reduce the inherent risks of the furrowing process until mothers and piglets are out of the woods. Although it is not comprehensive, see how complicated it can be to raise a pig compared to cattle or sheep and some essential things before starting.

Pig breeds originated in New Zealand

  • Berkshire
  • Duroc
  • Euro
  • Hampshire
  • Landrace
  • Large Black
  • Large White
  • Tamworth
  • Wessex
  • Kunekune

Nutrition and health care

Pigs are provided with grains and cereals for energy and protein sources with vitamins and minerals such as dairy by-products and soybean meal. Pigs are also the best recyclers of human food chain by-products and leftovers, such as bread, dairy, and supermarket vegetables that would otherwise go to landfills. For sick pigs, antibiotics are not routinely used only in veterinary supervision when required and to maintain the health and welfare of pigs. 

In case you miss this: Pig Diseases, Symptoms, and Treatment

Pig Farming
Image Source

Husbandry practices

The methods you use to raise your farm will significantly impact how successful breeding is. Many modern pigs have strict boar to sow ratios, group mating, artificial insemination, or supervised breeding. They closely monitor the rate of return and fertility and routine tasks such as vaccination, clipping milk teeth, tail docking, worming, and early weaning. The well-being of good animals is also linked to good breeding, providing the best conditions for pigs, dealing with problems, and carrying out activities properly. 

Disease management 

Pigs are most susceptible to various diseases, including gastrointestinal infections, pneumonia, and skin problems. Disease management provides an environment that provides adequate nutrition and husbandry levels that prevent the disease from progressing. If the disease occurs in pigs, it is essential to know what causes it what can be done to treat it and prevent further problems.

A meaningful way to control the disease is to maintain stocking density which does not increase the illness rate. Pigs are better off if they are moved to fresh ground every two years, as the level of parasites and bacterial contamination in the environment increases over time. The use of new bedding for movable furrow arcs and farrowing sows can help cleanse away and reduce the level of disease.

In a pig population with year-round diseases such as pneumonia and scours tend to circulate in the young pig population, most often maintaining the condition at a level that will provide a source of infection for the next batch of piglets. In general, the higher the stocking rate, the greater the reliance on vaccination, use of antibiotics, and worming for disease control. 

In case you miss this: Pig Farming Tips, Techniques, Ideas, and Secrets

Pig Shed
Image Source

Frequnelty asked questions about pig farming in New Zealand

What are the regulations governing pig farming in New Zealand? 

In New Zealand, the rules governing pig farming and other animal husbandry apply nationally to hygiene and animal welfare, disease prevention, employer responsibilities, etc. Relevant laws on zoning, resource use, boundaries, and waste disposal are also in place at the regional and district council levels. 

How many pig farms are available in New Zealand? 

New Zealand has more than 125 large-scale pig farms and countless small operators, raising more than 700,000 pigs each year. In New Zealand, the pork industry is worth over $ 1 billion annually.

Is there a pig factory in NZ? 

In New Zealand, most pigs are kept indoors in large sheds, often called ‘factory farms.’ 

Is Pig Farming Profitable in NZ? 

Pig farming can be a profitable business in New Zealand.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here