Bettapork | Sustainable Family Farming
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Betta Piggery

In the early 1980’s Paul and Dale Brosnan operated under the trading name of Bettafield, taking the existing piggery to 400 head. As was the norm, pigs were housed in the same area from birth to bacon, however Paul and Dale’s innovative nature led them to accept invitations to veterinary conferences where they learnt of the benefits of three site production, namely the minimisation of disease carry over between pigs of varying age groups.

The couple’s application to the local council to convert the original facilities to a breeder site only was successful and they went on to buy out Paul’s parents’ share in 1997.

By the year 2000 the piggery was home to 1200 sows enjoying the comforts of a purpose built nursery and 14 finisher sheds. The BettaPork piggery is no less than a state of the art facility with animal welfare the number one consideration.

As the Australian pork industry moved to phase out sow stalls in favour of group housing, Paul and Dale were faced with an economic disaster through reduced numbers while redesigning the existing buildings. In their own words, they “bit the bullet” and built a new site with the first pregnant sows introduced to the new farrowing facility in April 2014. It was at this time the family committed to building a biogas plant and were well on their way to complete self sufficiency.

“We became the first in Australia to implement the three site production system that was climatically controlled with 24 hour surveillance. Our whole facility is built so we won’t have to tear it down and start again if the industry code changes. We’ve considered the future in every move we’ve made”

Laurie Brosnan

Pig Breeding

Sow and piglet health is paramount right back through the breeding cycle with the BettaPork nucleus herd situated 38km from the main BettaPork site. No pigs have gone onto the replacement breeding site since it was built in the 1980s with isolation the key to health.

600 sows make up the replacement breeding herd and feed into the 1600 head of breeding sows at the main BettaPork site. These sows produce 900 pigs each week, meaning that number must exit the piggery weekly.

Replacement gilts spend time at a quarantine farm for acclimatization from about 60kg to breeding weight, at which point they are trucked to BettaPork to take their place in a renowned pork producing herd.

BettaPork females are 100 per cent artificially inseminated with the reproductive side of the business operated from the family’s own AI laboratory. The Brosnans work with 11 boars to cover 1600 females striving for a uniformed line and the spread of strong genetics. In line with their commitment to animal welfare, the AI system is quicker, less stressful on females and more precise- a win-win scenario for all players.

“Selection of breeding stock continues with the BettaPork theme of quality, drawing on EBVs, dollar indexes and visual physical characteristics.”

Laurie Brosnan