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Pigs love the Bishop ‘farrowing village'

by 5m Editor
8 November 2006, at 12:34pm

UK - The heat is on in more ways than one at Bishop Burton’s new pig unit. Not only have they installed a new state of the art incinera-tor, but the first pigs born in the new system were away at 76 kilos dead before their dams farrowed the second time.

As it is a 22 week cycle, the pigs have grown extraor-dinarily well. The original target was to serve 132 JSR Gold x gilts with the Titan boar, some natural service, some AI. One died and one was a non-breeder so 130 were served. The target for farrowing was 110 and 128 actually farrowed giving a 98.5 percent farrowing rate.From the 128 litters born, an average of 12.09 live piglets was achieved and with mummified and stillborn, the total born figure was 12.63.

The first pigs sold averaged 75.6 kilos dead, with a probe of 11.5 of which 92.5 percent were Q-grade. Not a lot wrong with that. It just goes to show what having a healthy herd can mean. There is no evident disease and only basic vac-cines are used which is a cost sav-ing compared to the disease and growth rates before destocking. There is a new feeding regime this time round with SCA supplying the first two diets and Wm Thomp-son of York feeding the growers, finishers and sows.

I visited in the week when the first of the second litters was far-rowing and believe it or not, they are having more pigs the second time round. I await with interest to see if the remaining batches follow suit. The pigs certainly love the far-rowing village and it seems to be working well. Mortality from wean-ing to finishing is less than one per-cent, so again a pointer to having healthy stock.

So if they are doing so well, why would they want an incinera-tor, as they have so few casualty pigs to put in? But then of course they also have sheep and there were several in the incinerator waiting to be burned. The old incinerator was worn out and no longer complied with the stricter legislation so a new Waste Spectrum front-loading ma-chine with a trolley and a winch has been bought and has already cre-mated one sow and endless sheep.

Before incineration, and for cows, the knacker service was used. But that meant taking the dead-stock to the access at the far end of the farm and leaving it there, which is never a good idea unless it is in a proper dead box. There is also the possibility of disease being brought to the farm, no matter how diligent the knack-erman might be. There were also the increased knacker charges to consider as the subsidised rate falls.Brian Moxon, technical sales consultant for the north of England for Waste Spectrum, was on hand to take me through the various aspects of the machine.

There is a meter which records how much fuel is used.It appears it will use 7 litres an hour and burn 50 kilos of mat-ter in the same time so a sow will be gone in between five and seven hours. The Waste Spectrum machines, which are all Defra-ap-proved, can run on diesel, kerosene, gas, LPG and biofuel, and need servicing only once a year, which a farmer can do.

Once you have ignited the machine for the first time and dried out the solid concrete chamber, Brian or an engineer will come to set it up and advise on the most economical way of using it. It requires only a standard electricity supply to power the fans and the control centre, which allow the machine to switch in and out when heat is reached. He stressed the high priority given by Waste Spectrum to aftersales service.

Pig and poultry ash may be spread on the land; sheep and beef ash has to be kept separate and taken to a licensed waste disposal site. An incinerated carcase leaves 2-4 percent ash. Without a refrigerator, keep-ing deadstock until the knacker-man calls means carcase deterioration and smell, which can attract vermin. I hadn’t thought there would be enough incinerator business to justify sales and technical people on the road but there is a long list of firms interested in machines of various sizes – pet crematoriums, fish farms, farm shops, small abat-toirs, butchers and of course poultry farms.

By Sam Walton and appeared in Novembers edition of Pig World

5m Editor