Farmer Focus: £70m innovation investment music to my ears

When times are hard and finances seem to be all consuming it is with relief that some good news is available, which may also actually help the livestock industry.

I have always been a keen advocate of the need for a central development centre that can be used by the industry and the associated food chain to advance our knowledge, performance and ultimately develop sales of our product.

Therefore the announcement that the £70m Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock is now to be a reality is music to this pig farmer’s ears.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the individuals and corporate bodies that have worked so hard to make this a reality and pledged to sponsor the project.

See also: Read more from the Livestock Farmer Focus writers 

I look forward to the developments and ideas that come forward over the coming years.

The pulled pork campaign is back and was aimed at Mother’s Day weekend. I am pleased to see AHDB Pork have targeted a period that should encourage uptake in this superb product and help sell such a delicious pork joint.

See also: Repairs before return to normal weaning

On the home front, our new employee is settling in well and we can finally start to implement some of the changes to the routine and management systems that will allow us to spend more time with the stock, give me time to oversee the business and assess areas where improvements could be made, and let the maintenance man concentrate fully on getting up to date with improvements and repairs.

Herd health continues to improve and performance is returning to previous levels.

There is still a long way to go but the signs are good, especially in the farrowing department.

Conception rate, however, stubbornly refuses to improve and the only possible solution now is to build a new service area.

As a result we are altering the existing pens to enable us to move sows from the designated area so work can start as soon as possible.

All we need now is the pig price to rise and all will be good.

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.