Andrew Freemantle has breakdown bother

I had a planning meeting today at Exton Park Farm, where we finish our pigs. I don’t want to tempt fete, but everything seems to be going okay. It certainly helps if you already have stock at the site where you are proposing a change, as then the people affected already know what’s going on.

Part of our application is to increase the size of the slurry store, which we have to do as part of the NVZ legislation, so it would be churlish to turn down that when we have to do it by law.

The pigs are being very kind to me at the moment. We have weaned over 400 pigs in the last two weeks from 35 sows, hence the need for more accommodation.

Breakdowns are causing me most bother. In the last three days we had a slurry tanker pump disintegrate, feed auger motor pack up, sow feeding system jam, ventilation motor break and lastly my office modem packed up, necessitating a trip into town to get a replacement to ensure this article was on time.

I have just heard that at their annual conference in Denmark all the industry stakeholders have decided to build 500,000 new state-of-the-art finisher places to keep two million pigs in the country, instead of presently exporting them to Germany. It will crate 2,800 extra jobs through the production chain and help with their balance of payments. Interestingly, the government is keen to get this up and running as every extra 15,000 pigs finished in Denmark raises enough tax revenues for eight nurses or schoolteachers. Meanwhile, we are only 60% self-sufficient in pork in this country. Surely there must be opportunities for something similar here?

Andrew Freemantle farms 300 sows on 28ha (70 acres) near Exeter, Devon. He sells 130 pigs a week, with 85 going to abattoirs and the rest supplying their farm shop, pork wholesale business and catering trailers. Andrew was 2008 Farmers Weekly Pig Farmer of the Year.

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