Livestock Farmer Focus: Andrew Freemantle is impressed by on-farm viewing galleries

After trading at the Royal Cornwall Show, things calmed down somewhat and the family and I had a week’s holiday in The Netherlands. I even managed to squeeze in a visit to an interesting pig farm.

The farm, owned by Martin Roojacker, was located south of Eindhoven, where he farms 750 sows with his brother.

With the help of the Dutch pig industry, he has built viewing galleries at three places in his unit, so anybody can come up and watch what is going on 24/7. On an annual basis more than 20,000 people visit his farm with no effect on the day-to-day running of his business.

The other galleries look into the farrowing house and a new 80% slatted finishing shed. It’s a great way to show the public inside a pig unit and it makes we wonder why we don’t have viewing galleries in the UK.

At Kenniford, the hot weather is causing problems, with lactating sows struggling to eat enough to keep weaning weights up. The first of our home-bred gilts have farrowed and litters are on the low side.

This is because they were served a little early as we were low on breeding stock at the time they were served. However, the progeny look fit and healthy, as they get the perfect set of antibodies via their mums colostrum, as the sows were born and raised on the farm.

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