Farmer Focus: Pigs finishing faster than the lambs

It has been a busy few weeks on the farm. Our first draw of fattened pigs has left.

Some of you may remember my article back in August when I discussed some of the reasons behind diversifying into pigs.

Since then we have had to adapt quickly to becoming pig farmers and I can honestly say it has been mostly enjoyable.

See also: Liquid feeding weaners improves pig finishing performance

We were particularly apprehensive conducting the first draw and how best to load them.

We have heard how this can often be a testing exercise if the method isn’t ‘right’ – alongside the added pressure of the haulier waiting for you.

Our approach to drawing on a cold dark November morning seemed to work well (either that or beginners’ luck).

The income from the pigs has been hugely beneficial to us, what with the diabolical beef trade and lambs taking a longer time than usual to finish.

If only the lambs finished as quickly as the pigs our cashflow and fodder stocks would look a lot more attractive.

We still have around 700 lambs left to sell. They are taking a lot longer to finish due to the extreme levels of rainfall and lower dry matter intake.

Unfortunately, this means that they are now grazing on some of the winter pasture put aside for the ewes.

We have usually sold all lambs by December. However, it’s refreshing to see that trade has lifted, which will hopefully be sustained in the run-up to Christmas when we come to sell.

We try to keep our portfolio of machinery to a minimum for expenditure and depreciation purposes, with one loader tractor on each farm.

The downside of this is when one has a major breakdown, as has just happened, and is out of action for a few weeks, this causes everything to come to a halt.

Thankfully, we have a friend who is a salesman at a local dealership and he has sorted us out with a replacement JCB loader.

Josh is like the cat that got the cream at the moment and I envisage we can wave cheerio to our 2019 Basic Payment Scheme.

Read more about Monmouthshire livestock farmer Livy Braid