The impact of the nitrates derogation changes on pig producers and the challenges posed by ongoing labour shortages will be among the issues addressed at this year’s Irish Pig Health Society (IPHS) symposium.

The symposium, which takes place at the Curragh Racecourse in Co Kildare on Tuesday 16 April is themed ‘Future proofing the health of your business’ and will feature a mix of technical presentations and a panel discussion on the challenges facing the pig sector.

“We’re taking a fresh approach when it comes to this year’s event,” said IPHS president Peter Duggan.

He identified labour and the nitrates changes as two issues which were posing real difficulties for pig producers.

While the nitrates changes are seen primarily as an issue for the dairy and tillage sectors, every acre being lost to cereal growers tightens the area of ground available to pig producers to spread slurry, Duggan explained.

The keynote speaker is former Ireland rugby international Bernard Jackman, who was recently appointed head of high performance with Horse Sport Ireland.

Peter van der Voorst, an independent climate control specialist for pigs, is one the guest speakers.

The panel discussion will be chaired by Michael McKeon of Teagasc and includes former IFA president Joe Healy, Jason McGrath of Ashleigh Farms and Sarah Hanley of IFA.