Farmer Focus: Shower block investment essential for staff

My wife Lizzy and I have just got back from a three-night break in Harrogate.

This is the first time we have been away since lockdown began. All we have been doing for the last five months is work, go home and work for seven days a week.

We must avoid Covid-19 as the pigs always need a full staff team to care for them.

See also: What causes seasonal infertility in pigs and how to manage it

I was amazed how many people there were out and about in Harrogate. Many of them elderly and vulnerable to Covid-19.

We sat outside when eating and having a drink as I don’t feel comfortable sitting in a busy restaurant with lots of strangers.

I have again been asked to be a judge for Pig World’s National Pig Awards. Once again it looks like a very strong entry in all classes.

I am lead judge in stockman of the year, young pig farmer of the year and part of the team of judges for indoor and outdoor producer of the year.

I always find it very encouraging and stimulating to see the quality and enthusiasm of all the entrants. 

We have got the builders in on farm at the moment building a new shower block.

When we depopulated and repopulated the pigs 15 years ago to improve herd health, one of the many biosecurity improvements we made was to install showers so that all staff and visitors could shower each morning.

At the time we used a portacabin for the showers, which is now starting to look a bit shabby.

I feel that, as important as it is from a biosecurity point of view, staff working hard on a pig farm should be able to go home after work on a hot smelly day having showered and feeling refreshed.

I was supposed to be going to Spain in March to see how Spanish pig farmers cope with extreme heat and how they keep their pigs cool.

Obviously, Covid-19 put a halt to that, but hopefully I will get there next year, as these really hot days seem to be happening more and more often over here.

David Owers is a Farmer Focus writer in Lincolnshire. Read his biography.