Andrew Freemantle prepares for Christmas

Our meeting with the conservation officer last month went without a hitch, because due to traffic problems he could not turn up.

His planning officer colleague did make it and with the East Devon district councillor’s help we have managed to secure some time at the next committee meeting to present our case, which will hopefully convince the members to support us, fingers crossed.

Back on the farm, the pigs are performing very well (touch wood) and according to our ArgoSoft production figures for the past six months we are averaging 12.4 born alive at the moment. This, coupled with a 2.39 farrowing index and about 12.8% pre-weaning mortality, is giving us a figure of 25.9 reared for every sow, so I would like to pass my congratulations to the pig team – Grant Morrow, the manager, and his team, Jo Morrow, Jon Newby, Mercedes Pemberton Finch, Mike Willey, Phil Churchill and Ray Lee.

To achieve performance like that on a Freedom Foods unit is pretty special. I would like to know if there are any other Freedom Food units getting results similar to that? For me it sums up what sustainable intensification is all about. It is very difficult to balance high welfare and high output, but at the moment we are – well done team.

Christmas is now looming large, so we are busy getting newsletters together and organising a shop tasting day, as well as negotiating with my son’s godfather the prices for the 130 plus turkeys we buy from him. Let me say now I would not last one day as a supermarket buyer as I am far too soft.

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. He was Farmers Weekly 2008 Pig Farmer of the Year.

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