Farming family recovers from horrific fire

A pig and poultry farming family from Suffolk has made a spectacular comeback after their farm was badly damaged in an electrical fire last year.

Simon and Alison Brice’s Poplar Hall Farm at Occold, near Eye, saw numerous buildings destroyed in the fire which raged in the central hub of the farm, killing 300 pigs, when the piggery’s wet feeder system short circuited.

“After the fire, we were determined to rebuild the farm and looked into ways in which I could save some of the money we had lost and become more efficient and sustainable for the future,” said Mr Brice.

A year later the farm is now only just back to its full capacity of 4,000 laying hens and 3,000 pigs, with a new central piggery shed at the centre of the farm.

To offset their costs, the Brice’s have invested in three 15m high 5kW wind turbines, installed by Norfolk company Windcrop, and are planning to put panels on their other farm buildings in the coming months.

“Although I haven’t yet had a bill through, my digital meter reader shows that the turbines have already cut my electricity costs by at least half,” said Mr Brice.

“I did have some initial concerns that the chickens may be frightened or spooked by them, which could affect the lay, but they don’t seem bothered at all and I’m still getting as many eggs as usual.

“They are only 100 metres from the farm house and I can honestly say that even on a really windy day, the sound of the trees rustling and the buildings creaking is noisier than the turbines.”