Farmer Focus: Reflooring farrowing shed ups performance

A happy and prosperous new year to all in the farming community, regardless of the sector they work in. I have a feeling this year could prove hard going for us all, with our percentage of the retail price falling, floods, the decision to say or leave the EU and will I ever get a replacement member of staff?

Since my last ramble we are finally getting close to finishing the reflooring of the farrowing rooms with concrete and the results of this effort is beginning to show in a reduction of knee abrasions and joint ill and therefore less treatment and time.

I have to admit the results are better than I had imagined.

See also: Read more from our Livestock Farmer Focus writers 

The totally slatted farrowing shed is now showing its age and I may have to bring forward a plan to totally refloor the whole shed before the existing supports finally give up the ghost, so off on the quotation merry go round again.

The recent dip in births due to production problems in the late summer is showing some surprising effects, namely that the extra empty space in the farrowing rooms means we are able to rest the rooms longer than normal and as a consequence performance is improving across the board in terms of lower mortality and improved weaning weight.

See also: Inside farrowing arks boost piglet numbers

I think this could be an area that some additional accommodation could be advantageous, and give a substantial return on investment. Yet again back on the quotation trail again.

I’ve mentioned on several occasions my problem in finding a replacement member of staff; well the search goes on with another two applicants to interview this week.

Fingers crossed that the new year is going to start on a positive note on one front at least.

I started writing this article several hours ago and at which point the sows decided to rip the water system off the wall and have flooded several pens that have had to be mucked out and rebedded. Well, what else is there to do on a Sunday? No rest for the wicked as they say.

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.