Pig farm

In all Victorian planning schemes, a planning permit is required to use and develop land for a pig farm. There are a range of zones where pig farms may be permitted, and this is outlined in the Victoria Planning Provisions:

  • Farming Zone
  • Rural Activity Zone
  • Green Wedge Zone
  • Green Wedge A Zone
  • Rural Conservation Zone
  • Rural Living Zone
  • Urban Growth Zone.

Local laws should be considered when determining if an activity is permissible.

For more information on permit requirements across zones in Victoria, download:

Why is a planning permit for a pig farm is required?

The planning permit process for a pig farm is necessary because even small, free-range pig farms can have significant environmental and community amenity impacts if not sited and managed correctly.

The planning permit application process allows local government to consider whether the siting and size of a proposed farm, or an expansion of an existing farm, is compatible with the specific location.

The process allows potential environmental and amenity risks to be identified and mitigated through the siting, design and operation of the farm. It also provides proponents the opportunity to consider with council the ability of the land to accommodate future expansion.

Pig Farm Production Systems

Production cycle

Pig production can be divided into three main stages:

  1. breeding
  2. weaning
  3. growing / finishing

The breeding stage involves mating and farrowing (birthing).  It includes the boars, gilts (young females selected for breeding), dry sows (mated sows), lactating sows and suckers (unweaned piglets).

The weaning stage consists of newly weaned pigs, typically aged from 3-4 weeks to 8 to 12 weeks, although some outdoor producers wean at around 6-8 weeks.

The growing/finishing stage typically includes larger pigs aged from 8-12 weeks to 20-22 weeks, but sometimes older depending on markets.

Geographical separation of the stages (multi-site production) helps with biosecurity and disease control. Consequently, a site may include one or two of these stages. However, there are also farrow-to-finish pig farms that include all three stages.

Types of Facilities

Pigs may be housed indoors in conventional sheds or deep litter housing, or outdoors in rotational outdoor piggeries or feedlot piggeries.

Conventional Sheds

Conventional sheds may be constructed from a variety of materials including steel or timber frames, concrete flooring, nylon curtain with corrugated iron, sandwich panel walls and roofs, or a combination of these. The flooring is typically slatted, and manure, effluent and wasted feed fall through the flooring into concreted underfloor pits or channels. Some conventional sheds are enclosed and mechanically ventilated, while others have curtain or shutter sides to allow for natural ventilation.

Effluent captured within the under-floor pits or channels is conveyed to an effluent treatment system via open drains or pipes. In some facilities, solids will be removed from the effluent using a screen, screw press, sedimentation basin or other means before being directed into effluent ponds for treatment and storage. A cover over the anaerobic pond or biodigester may collect the biogas produced by the treatment process, which can then be converted to power and / or heat for use within the piggery. Stored effluent is either reused by land irrigation or is evaporated.

Deep Litter Housing

Deep litter housing typically consists of hoop structures like the plastic greenhouses used in horticulture but may include simple sheds or converted conventional sheds. The structures are usually naturally ventilated. The floors must be impervious and is usually concrete. A layer of bedding such as straw, rice hulls or sawdust placed over the floor absorbs the manure and provides dry conditions for the pigs. These systems are typically used for weaner and grower pigs and for dry sows. Spent bedding is typically removed and replaced at the end of each batch or when dry sows are moved to the farrowing shed. Spent bedding is typically stockpiled or composted in a dedicated area ahead of utilisation in on or off-farm cropping systems.

Rotational Outdoor Piggeries

In rotational outdoor piggeries, the pigs live outdoors in paddocks (range areas) with basic shelter such as huts or open deep litter shelters. Feed is usually delivered using moveable self-feeders or troughs but ground feeding (feed placed directly on the ground) is sometimes practiced. Wallows, spray or drip cooling and additional shade may be provided. Regular relocation of range facilities helps to spread manure nutrients evenly over the paddock area.

In these systems, the land use of the paddocks alternates between a pig phase and a crop or forage phase. To keep soil nutrients at suitable levels, nutrients added as manure during the pig phase are managed by cutting and carting plant material grown during the crop or forage phase. The land area needed for these piggeries is a function of herd composition and nutrient removal rates during the crop or forage phase.

Feedlot Piggeries

Feedlot outdoor piggeries contain pigs in permanent outdoor pens or in fixed sheds or shelters with an attached outdoor pen. As there is no or limited rotation of pens, feedlot housing is considered part of the animal production facility. Feedlot piggeries must be located within a controlled drainage area.

Victorian Low Density Mobile Outdoor Pig Farm Planning Permit Guidelines - June 2018

These Guidelines provide information and direction to applicants and planners for assessing planning permit applications to establish or modify a low density mobile outdoor pig farm (LDMO). They outline what planners should expect in the application, and present key decision guidelines to support assessment of the application.

These Guidelines set out the eligibility requirements for a simplified planning assessment process based on the farms having low environmental and amenity risks and apply to a planning permit application for pig farms with a maximum of 150 sows or 1,000 Standard Pig Units (SPU).

Additional planning requirements are outlined in the Victorian Low Density Mobile Outdoor Pig Farm Planning Permit Guidelines that must be met.

Victorian Low Density Mobile Outdoor Pig Farm Planning Permit Guidelines (PDF - 661.5 KB)

Victorian Low Density Mobile Outdoor Pig Farm Planning Permit Guidelines (WORD - 119.0 KB)

Victorian Low Density Mobile Outdoor Pig Farm Planning Permit Guidelines - Supporting Documents

Development plan

A development plan contains the information that planners should expect from a planning application. It outlines the way in which the facility will be sited, built and managed to meet the objectives and standards of the guidelines.

A template is provided below to assist applicants in creating their plan. The template includes guidance notes/examples and checklists to assist applicants in identifying the information to include in each section.

LDMO Pig Farm Development Plan (WORD - 1.9 MB)

LDMO Pig Farm Development Plan accessible (WORD - 1.4 MB)

Application checklist

The Application checklist has been developed for planners to ensure that all information required by the Low Density Mobile Outdoor Pig Farm Planning Permit Guidelines has been included in a planning permit application.

The checklist is intended to be used in conjunction with the Victorian Low Density Mobile Outdoor Pig Farm Planning Permit Guidelines.

Victorian Low Density Mobile Outdoor Pig Farm Planning Permit Guidelines – Checklist (WORD - 603.4 KB)

Victorian Low Density Mobile Outdoor Pig Farm Planning Permit Guidelines – Checklist   (WORD - 166.3 KB)

Further information on pig farms

PPN86: Applying for a planning permit for a pig farm

This practice note provides guidance for applicants and responsible authorities about the preparation and assessment of planning permit applications for pig farms.

View PPN86 at Department of Transport and Planning.

National Environmental Guidelines for Indoor Piggeries - May 2018

View the National Environmental Guidelines for Indoor Piggeries at Australian Pork Limited.

National Environmental Guidelines for Rotational Outdoor Piggeries – 2013

View the National Environmental Guidelines for Rotational Outdoor Piggeries at Australian Pork Limited.


For further information contact the Agriculture Victoria Planning and Advisory Service for all agricultural land use planning enquiries on agvic.planning@agriculture.vic.gov.au.

Page last updated: 04 Jul 2024