Farmer Focus: Buildings, bloods and burners

I hoped the new grower shed would be finished by now, but lack of time and materials not arriving on site has slowed the project down. 

Daniel had a month off college at Christmas, so we got the stainless troughs and tops made. They are looking good now they’re galvanised and in the rooms. 

The wet feed system is almost finished and the ventilation is in and wired up. By the time you read this we will have pigs in, with one building finished and the second well on the way. 

See also: Read more from our Livestock Farmer Focus writers  

More bloods were taken this week and with the results due back soon we are still keeping our fingers crossed, but so far so good. 

The pigs coming through the system look well, with very few deaths. No pigs have been falling behind and the batches look very even.

As Anna Longthorp said, we need the price to stop falling and start to rise again to keep confidence in the industry, allow investment in buildings and help us catch up with our competitors in Denmark, Holland and the rest of Europe. 

Good buildings and handling systems make things so much better – not only for the pigs but for the staff looking after them.

The end of January will soon be here and that means meter reading again for the quarterly return to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

This will be the end of the first year for our woodpellet burner, so we’ll see what the return on investment will be and how many years it will take to pay back.

With kerosene at its lowest price for a long time it takes away the savings in fuel costs, but the RHI will still be a welcome payment. 

On the other hand, our wind turbine has been broken down since the middle of December with a major gearbox malfunction, so not much payment in the way of the Feed-In Tariffs this quarter.

Hopefully we’ll get it fixed soon and turn wind into pound notes again. 

Danny Skinner

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.