Farmer Focus: New grower building plans afoot

We can safely say 2014 harvest is over. It was a bit stop-start, but yields and quality were good and as a grain buyer, prices are in our favour. I would not like to be a cereal producer selling on the spot market this year.

The Scottish independence debate is over, so hopefully we can get back to normal business and get the final decisions on the CAP reform so we know what we are doing next season.

By the time you are reading this all our growing pigs will be off site. The plan is to thoroughly wash and disinfect the buildings, then rest them for a day or two before soaking and disinfecting again and allowing them to dry out.

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We will then be able to start our medication programme, treating the sows with medicated feed for four weeks. During this time, the piglets will also be weaned off site. We will start moving them back into the clean buildings on 5 November, the same day as the tup will go to Daniel’s ewes.

Our weaner building holds seven weeks of pigs, so the new grower building needs to be ready for weaners the week before Christmas. The perfect time to try out a new building and new feeding system. You would think I would have had this better planned.

We have spent the last two weeks, before Daniel went off to college, preparing the site for the new grower building, putting in the slurry pipes and getting ready for pouring the concrete floor, all 250cu m. Thankfully the building supplier will lay the concrete and then shutter the slurry pits.

The building will hopefully rise like a phoenix from the ashes once we get going and as long as the weather holds, various contractors should get us wind and waterproof before winter sets in. We had very little snow last year, so bound to get too much this year.

Danny Skinner farms 440 sows selling finished pigs through Scottish Pig Producers. He runs 125ha at home and rents a further 50ha, growing cereals for home mixing.