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Computers Keep Pig Farmers Ahead

From the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology

For immediate release

COMPUTERS KEEP PIG FARMERS AHEAD

Many of New Zealand's 500 pig farmers are turning to computer software specifically designed to help them stay competitive against overseas imports.

"PigWin is a decision-support system which enables producers to make decisions about their farming, based on solid information, to spot trends," says Brian Milne, chief executive of the New Zealand Pork Industry Board.

Farmers are reporting paybacks on their $500 investment in the software within months, he says.

The PigWin software was developed for the Pork Industry Board by a team led by Professor Roger Morris of Massey University and is designed to run in a Windows format. Technology New Zealand - the Government agency that invests in research into new products, processes or services - assisted with funding for the project.

The software comes with several modules. Piglitter, for example, covers all aspects of breeding - such as litter sizes and conditions of sows - and enables farmers to spot trends in their herds.

"Similarly, PigGain allows a farmer to project weight gains in the herd and enables them to make assumptions about prices," Mr Milne says. "It helps them with their marketing decisions about when might be the best time to sell. It complements their experience and know-how."

New Zealand pig farmers have benefited from improved prices in the past few years, he says, and the farm-gate value of the trade was $140 million last year, retail about $400 million.

The PigWin software is being marketed overseas.

"Sales in North America are picking up, as well as in Australia and China. We're looking for new markets, and the product is always being revised to keep it up to date."

-ends-

Contact:

* Brian Milne, chief executive, New Zealand Pork Industry Board, 94 Dixon St, Wellington. Ph: (04) 385-4229. Fax: (04) 385-8522. Email: milne@nzpib.co.nz

* Tony Hadfield, Technology New Zealand (Christchurch Office) at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, (03) 377-9340. Website: www.technz.co.nz

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525, ian@idcomm.co.nz

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