Farmers Guardian
Topics
How to spot BSE and what farmers can do to prevent it

How to spot BSE and what farmers can do to prevent it

DataHub

DataHub

Dairy Farmer Magazine

Dairy Farmer Magazine

Auction Finder

Auction Finder

British Farming Awards

British Farming Awards

CropTec

CropTec

LAMMA 2020

LAMMA 2020

You are viewing your 1 free article

Register now to receive 2 free articles every 7 days or subscribe for unlimited access.

Subscribe | Register

Five-year investment strategy brings success for pig enterprise

Keen to ensure the future success of the family business, a five-year investment strategy addressing areas ranging from farm buildings to management practices has brought success for one Lancashire-based pig enterprise. 

TwitterFacebook

Improving enterprise performance is driving cost savings and business efficiency for one Lancashire pig farmer.

 

David Goodier has driven a significant five-year investment strategy at his family’s 240-head indoor sow unit in Greenhalgh, Preston, which has translated into continued business performance improvements in a competitive sector.

 

Working alongside his father Leonard and full-time workman Wayne Connell, David has invested in buildings and infrastructure to help achieve the family farm’s goals of improving output per pig, decreasing cost of production and improving gilt management.

 

The pig enterprise is run alongside a 40,000-bird broiler unit, supplying Hook 2 Sisters on a high-welfare, low-stocking-rate contract for Pret a Manger.

 

About 40 hectares (100 acres) of arable production grows some of the wheat, barley and maize used in the home-blend mix for the pig unit, alongside some grassland and about 8ha (20 acres), which is let out annually for growing potatoes.

 

Alongside the recent investment, David has recently been involved in AHDB Pork’s strategic farm project which began in June-2015 and says it has assisted him in achieving the necessary management changes to achieve the farm’s goals.

 

The pig unit is run on a three-week batch system. Breeding sows are made up of indoor JCR 9T crosses, a first-generation cross between a Large White and Landrace.

 

Sire

A terminal JSR GC900 boar, an imported sire from Canada, is used across the herd via artificial insemination and David recently begun trialling the Canadian Duroc across some of the herd.

 

David says: “The 9T crosses are robust and well suited to typical English pig farming systems and buildings.

 

“They are not quite as extreme as some of the composites available which give the numbers of piglets, but lack the longevity we are looking for. The aim behind bringing the Duroc is to bring in less aggressive traits with comparable growth rates.”

 

Production output now stands at 27.5 piglets per sow per year, increasing from 24 when he began working with AHDB, which equates to a boost in live piglets born per litter from 12.8 to 13.8 and typically about 11.7 piglets weaned per sow per litter.

Body condition score is assessed using a caliper.
Body condition score is assessed using a caliper.

David says reducing pre-weaning mortality was a key part in achieving this goal, which now stands 10 per cent.

 

“The investment and management changes we have incorporated into the farrowing house have gone a long way in helping get to this point,” explains David.

 

“We installed an air source heat pump five years ago which provides energy for heated pads and installed a supplementary milk feeding system for piglets in the farrowing crates.

 

"This has improved overall piglet health and growth rates. Typically, for every 0.5kg gained at weaning, we find it generally equates to 4kg faster growth rate post-weaning.”

 

Finished stock is sold at 84kg at a rate of about 120-head per week, all sold via a Woodhead Brothers contract supplying Morrisons.

 

To monitor growth rates, piglets are tagged and weighed on weaning and subsequently split into four batches of 340-380 depending on size.

 

This results in a large group (8.5kg average weight), two medium groups (7.5kg average weight) and a small group (5kg average weight), meaning feed rations can be allocated accordingly.

 

Weighed

 

Groups are then weighed at 60-days post-weaning and again at finishing (from 129-days).

 

Growers and finishers are fed on a home-mix ration made up of home-grown cereals, soya and a bought-in concentrate (see table 1).

 

“Tagging the pigs gives us really detailed information on growth rates for individual pig performance and is also helping us build up a picture of effective feeding and management to reduce variation during the finishing period.

 

“Analysing figures can be time consuming, but the rewards in terms of improved breeding performance and better growth rates mean we have been able to improve our cost of production.”

 

Herd replacements are sourced via JSR at a rate of 18 every six weeks.

 

Genetics

 

“Buying replacement gilts allows us continually bring in the top-end genetics we are wanting from breeding animals,” explains David.

Piglets arr tagged and weighed on weaning.
Piglets arr tagged and weighed on weaning.

Farm facts: South View Farm

  • 240-head indoor sow unit, 13,000-bird broiler unit and 40 hectares (100 acres) of arable production
  • 27.5 piglets per sow per year
  • 13.8 live piglets per litter
  • 11.7 piglets weaned per sow per litter, with pre-weaning mortality at 10 per cent

“We address biosecurity risks by isolating all bought-in gilts for three weeks, housed away from the rest of the herd. While they are in isolation, we also run them with a teaser boar to make sure they have all had a heat.”

 

Another priority of David’s is to improve the herd’s productive longevity by pinpointing the details of the relationship between body condition score (BCS) in younger animals and their failure to get back in-pig, one of the main reasons for culling second parity pigs.

 

“BCS is measured using a sow body condition caliper to measure the width of the top-line and an ultra-sonic P2 fat tester to measure the depth of fat at the same point.

 

“We are also weighing parity one and parity two sows going into the farrowing house and again once piglets have been weaned so feed allocation can be done effectively following this and ensure the target BCS is reached at service.”

 

A closer look at the gilts’ diet has also formed a major part of this work, meaning daily feed allowance is more closely monitored at the right quality and consistency.

 

This is also replicated across the herd via individual electronic tag recognition at feed stations, meaning individual data stored on each animal can be used to calculate a specific amount of ration to administer.

Table 1 – D. Goodier ration as at July 2018

Raw material
(kg per tonne of feed)

Grower 1

Grower 2

Finisher 1

Finisher 2

Barley

211.3

350.3

243

564

Wheat

170

150

262

 

Hipro Soya

192

198

191

146

Soya bean oil

32

42

28

25

Biscuit

75

 

 

 

Goodier grower LS

28

28

 

 

Goodier grower LS

 

 

26

26

Fish meal

25

16.7

 

 

Full fat soya

16.7

 

 

 

Bread dough

250

215

250

239

Total (kg)

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,000

TwitterFacebook
Post a Comment
To see comments and join in the conversation please log in.

Most Recent

Facebook
Twitter
RSS
Facebook
Twitter
RSS