Pig Farm Future Bright Thanks to ADAS

UK - A family of pig farmers in Anglesey has received a major financial investment from their bank to upgrade their rearing enterprise, helped by the experts at a leading agricultural and environmental consultancy, ADAS.
calendar icon 28 November 2013
clock icon 4 minute read

Paul and Sam Jones

Inside the new fattening shed

John and Christine Jones, along with their son Paul and his wife Sam, sought business advice from ADAS through Farming Connect’s Whole Farm* service, allowing the family – based in Rhosgoch, Anglesey – to approach NatWest with a robust business plan for upgrading the farm’s pig rearing facilities.

The Jones family farm two separate units with 290 acres at Llwyn yr Arth, which includes 90 acres rented from Ynys Mon County Council and a further 80 acres on short-term private rental agreements.

The thriving grassland business stocks 200 sows and 900 sheep, but the family had to consider whether it was worthwhile to continue in the pig industry, particularly at a time of economic downturn and spiralling costs.

David Moorhouse, a national pig specialist at ADAS, advised that with the right level of investment, the family could further develop the pig farming side of the business into a more profitable venture.
Commenting on his involvement with the project, David said: “I advised the business to invest in new fattening facilities to take the pigs to a heavier weight on a more modern and efficient system. This would reap significant financial benefits for the family – taking the pigs to a heavier weight would mean a better return per animal.”

Upgrading the farrowing facilities at the farm would allow the pig herd to rise to 270 sows while also maintaining low mortality rates in the piglets. The business already had a good record for animal health and welfare, however, more modern facilities would enhance this further while providing environmental benefits by lowering energy costs.

Armed with the pig rearing improvement plans, the family then worked with Cate Barrow, a business expert at ADAS. Together they produced a comprehensive business plan to present to the bank, proving the scheme was financially viable and worth of investment.

Cate Barrow said: “Investors needed to see that their money was going to be safe and would produce a return on investment. I worked with the family to draw up a business plan with regular monitoring against cash-flow projections to make sure key targets and parameters were met.”

In the summer of 2013 NatWest invested a substantial sum of money into the Jones family’s pig rearing enterprise. Work has now started on the farm to upgrade the facilities and is due to be completed by the end of 2013.

Commenting on the project, Paul Jones, said: “We were operating a traditional pig unit with 200 commercial large white cross sows pigs finished at cutter weight (68KG) on straw yards. This was very labour intensive and in addition to that, our buildings needed significant modernisation.

“Thanks to the expert advice and guidance from ADAS, we can bring the unit up to modern standards and efficiency levels. We had a tough start to 2013 challenged by the adverse weather conditions but we know that by the end of the year, we will be up to target in terms of numbers and pig weights.

“The future of the pig farm certainly looks bright and we are looking forward to seeing the financial benefits of running an effective and profitable business.”

*Farming Connect is funded through the Rural Development Plan 2007-2013, which is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

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