Field Lab: Feeding Silage to Pigs

Field Lab: Feeding Silage to Pigs

Soil Association Scotland is currently running a programme of Field Labs. The aims of this programme are to give farmers and growers the opportunity to test new approaches, share existing best practice, and help solve problems. Field Labs bring agricultural research directly to the field and in the shed, putting farmers and growers at their heart.

Chris Walton, a farmer from Berwickshire, wanted to investigate if it was possible to feed silage to growing pigs as an alternative to other expensive sources of protein such as soya. This was done in conjunction with researchers from Newcastle University and a facilitator from the Soil Association. 

By feeding silage to pigs the Field Lab wanted to explore these topics:

  • Reducing production costs (in order to improve financial resilience)
  • Effect on pork quality (in terms of appearance, cooking, aroma, taste, and texture)
  • Improving gut health (in order to improve animal welfare)
  • Reducing the reliance on soya as a source of protein (in order to reduce the environmental impacts associated with soya production). 

Report: Pig Silage 1 describes the ideas from the initial meeting.

Report: Pig Silage 2 discusses the practicalities and logistics of how the trial will be set up.

Report: Pig Silage 3 has the results from a pork taste testing session.

Report: Pig Silage 4 discusses the weight gain results.

This presentation gives an overview of the field lab.

If you are a producer with an innovative idea that you would like to explore further, then please get in touch with David Michie at the Soil Association by calling 07718570946.

Funded by The Scottish Government & The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development with partner funding from QMS, Forestry Commission Scotland, Innovative Farmers & The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation