Farmer Focus: Outing cancelled as sows farrow early

The last month has been a variable feast in terms of events that could only happen to me.

First, I was unable to attend the Pig and Poultry Fair as we had a spate of sows farrowing very early when the farrowing accommodation was already full.

Secondly, the piglet scour I mentioned last month continues to annoy us and create extra work and shows little sign of abating.

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Lastly, I received a letter from UK Power Networks informing us they intend to carry out work on the line. Nothing special in that you may think, except the letter was dated 12 March 2013. The mail service seems to be somewhat amiss.

After some serious head scratching, we decided it relates to power interruption when cables supplying the farm started to short. Suppose I’ll get round to calling them sometime.

See also: Repairs before return to normal weaning

On the pig front things continue to improve with born alive, pigs weaned and conception rates returning to our normal levels.

The bonus point has been that weaning weight has never been so consistent and over the 7.5kg mark. But I’m slightly worried how the scour is going to affect this in the next few weeks.

A large amount of this improvement is down to the commitment of our staff, so thanks lads.

Over the next few weeks the sows farrowing are the last that were served while we were suffering health issues, and I’m planning gilt services to fill the gaps. With any luck the weekly service pattern can then return to a stable and normal level.

Work on the repair and replacement of floors in the dry sow area continues apace as we only have four weeks left before the gaps in the production cycle catch us up. With some luck and some serious graft we should just about finish in time.

I’ve recently finished our annual review with the bank manager regarding our borrowing requirements and I’m pleased to say we have a plan of action and the finance in place to fund the work going forward. I will keep you informed as the year goes on.

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.