Scanning technology gives pig farmer marketing edge

A Suffolk farming partnership is using scanning technology to measure and score intramuscular fat (IMF) levels in its pig breeding stock.

Mark and Paul Hayward, who produce pork for the restaurant trade, carry out selective breeding based on the IMF scores.

Mark Hayward, a speaker at the Wales Pig and Poultry Event, in Welshpool, said this allowed the business, Dingley Dell Pork, to produce meat with enhanced flavour and taste.

Mark with some pigs

Mark Hayward

The brothers run a 900-sow outdoor farrow-to-finish unit with their own Red Duroc Nucleus herd and multiplication.

They are challenging the traditional model of outdoor pig production with a rotational system, which allows it to grow both grass and wildflower mixes.

Mark and Paul have trebled their pollinator-attracting planting to 33ha (81 acres) to entice bumblebees.

The farm uses a seed mix of phacelia, sainfoin, birds-foot trefoil, alsike clover, musk mallow, campium and vetch.

“We want to be farming with nature and help demonstrate that we are running a sustainable business,’’ said Mr Hayward.

The pig and poultry event was organised by Farming Connect and Menter Moch Cymru.

The organisations are funded by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh government.