Production Consultancy

We are committed to continually strive to provide expert advice to maximise profitable and sustainable pig production.


Some of the production consultancy services we offer are below.



Reproduction Investigations

Reproduction problems in sows and boars can be caused for a number of reasons. These include:


  • diseases such as erysipelas, parvovirus, and leptospirosis
  • seasonal effects
  • piggery hygiene
  • infertile or low fertility boars and semen
  • insemination or mating technique and timing
  • toxicosis
  • viruses and mycotoxins


Chris Richards & Associates have the expertise to examine and audit all of these possible causes so solve reproductive problems in your piggery.


Production Planning

The consultants at Chris Richards and Associates are able to offer production advise based on practical knowledge and experience formed over the years from operating and visiting a variety of pig production systems around the world.


Productions systems such as batch farrowing, multi-site production, early weaning and continuous flow can be assessed and recommendations made to ensure optimal production.


Evaluation of production data using PigPULSE can be peformed by our registered facilitators.


SellingOptions- New Pig Marketing Tool Available


One of the tools CRA has developed is a computer program , "SellingOptions", designed to assess the various selling options piggeries have available to sell their pigs. As there are numerous abattoirs buying and paying on different grids, it is difficult to determine if the pigs you sell are obtaining the optimum margin achievable.


This model also gives an indication of the best age to sell pigs. To determine this the model takes into account; abattoir grids and pricing, feed costs, transport costs to the different abattoirs, dressing percentages, average daily gain and cost of production.


Our service involves analysing your kills sheets against your current and other grids to improve your decision making ability.



Herd Recording


Chris Richards & Associates conduct a bureau service and evaluation services for a number of clients with the various herd recording systems. These include:




Elite Herd


Related Resources

WinPig Website



ProHand Training

ProHand is a training package that educates piggery owners and workers on appropriate hanling of pigs. It examines research that has demonstrated improved grower and eproductive performance by proper handling of pigs.


The course is taked over two sessions using a turorial type delivery system, computer-based self assessment program and bny viewing a video on the proper handling of pigs.


Contact us to arrange ProHand training.



Semen Evaluation


Boar Testing & Semen Evaluation

Ensuring that boars are fertile is essential to meet production targets. Fertility in boars can be affected by a of causes including age, nutrition, disease, injury, genetics, workload and seasonal factors.


Chris Richards and Associates believe that boars are the neglected part of most piggeries and have invested heavily in a laboratory to test and evaluate boar fertility and semen quality.


Semen Evaluation Service

Our Semen Evaluation Laboratory is utilised by a number of boar studs to evaluate the quality of semen from boars collected for artificial insemination purposes. This service has now been extended to commercial boars, using a collection kit that enables collection and preservation of boar semen from the vagina of sows.


Boars are often observed to have poor fertility when reproductive parameters increase such as an increase in returns or low litter size. By the time these problems are detected a considerable amount of time & money has gone into the boar and these sows. The service offered by Chris Richards & Associates enables boar semen to be evaluated at regular intervals to ensure that from a microscopic level the boar fertility is sound. This is a valuable resource to reduce the cost of production and manage risk for both AI studs and the commercial farmer.


Semen from commercial herd boars can be collected using the “Semen Retrieval Kit”. The kit, which can be used on both sows and gilts can be purchased from Chris Richards and Associates which includes instructions and instruments to retrieve & extend the semen. This process collects the semen in the cervix and vagina, so there is no risk in affecting the success of the mating.


The samples are examined using phase contrast microscopy and other analytical equipment to assess motility, morphology, and bacterial content.


Lack of motility or irregular swimming patterns can be related to genetic defects of tails, improper collection, handling or storage of the semen or extended periods of time between matings or collections.


Morphology of sperm cells reflects how well the testes, duct systems within the testes, and the epididymis are functioning. For boar studs, it also indicates whether the environmental conditions during semen collection, transport, storage and handling are favourable. Abnormalities such as cytoplasmic droplets, coiled, double and filiform tails give an indication of the maturity of sperm cells, temperature stress, pH changes, environmental or disease and injury effects on the boar, or in boar studs due to improper collection, handling and storage of the sample. There are a number of other abnormalities such as compromised acrosome integrity and other sperm head defects that will prevent the sperm from fertilising the egg.


Semen samples are also examined and cultured for bacterial contamination, which may cause the death of sperm and can potentially cause endometritis or other fertility problems in the receiving sow.




Pig Pulse Facilitation & Evaluation


PigPulse is a program that enables an evaluation of production data based upon a statistaical analyis of the data. It allows 'real' changes in production figures to be detected.


It can be used to monitor reproductive and growth performance.


Chris Richards & Associates can provide this service to those producers that do not have this program, or can assist in interpretation of results.