Farmer Focus: Easy-lay pig flooring helps reduce injuries

Someone told me Norfolk was a dry county, but in the past few weeks we have really struggled to get outside jobs finished due to persistent showers.

At least the new sleeper wall around the manure pad is finally finished and will prevent the muck sliding into the liquid run-off areas and save us time and effort keeping this clear.

The floors in the farrowing rooms are being rescreened with a self-levelling compound we found by accident. This is proving very successful. It is easy to lay and unlike some products, doesn’t go slippery with wear and therefore allows the pigs to stand easily.

The level of ailments in the rooms already done has reduced and pressure-washing time is also reduced. Finally a win-win situation. Hopefully the majority of the floors will be done by Christmas and we can then move on to revamping the totally slatted sheds.

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As we enter autumn, Mother Nature starts to throw up hurdles to hinder production, especially with regards to return services – pigs naturally do not want to breed at this time of year. We are also experiencing reduced scan rates and pneumonia-type issues. However, we have sufficient gilts available to maintain service levels and spot treatment of individual animals is maintaining herd health at the moment.

On the staffing front I have reviewed several applications and have selected a very promising candidate to interview, hopefully I can report good news next time. The team is starting to flag covering the additional workload that has been created and I need to thank everyone for their hard work and loyalty.

The next few days will be spent ensuring everything is up to date for a visit from the Environment Agency IPPC – or whatever it’s called at the moment.

Tony Bayles runs a herd of 1,000 sows producing 7kg pigs and all his own replacement stock on contract to a large local producer.