Dennis Bridgeford farms
50ha (125 acres) at Petley
Farm in Easter Ross, north
of Inverness. The farm
comprises of a 480-sow
indoor unit producing 95kg
pigs for one outlet and 85kg
pigs for a local abattoir. A
further 320 sows are run
outdoors. Land not used for
pigs grows spring barley
WE have actually broken through the £1/kg barrier for the first time in two and a half years. I should feel on top of the world, but the hard work in rebuilding our shattered business has just started.
I have nothing but praise for the bank over the past three years. It decided to run with us through the depression, unfortunately, our manager has taken early retirement. I will miss his encouragement and willingness to help us through difficult times. I wish him well for the future.
Nothing on a pig unit runs as smoothly as you would like. As luck would have it, to coincide with the increase in prices, we are short of pigs.
There are plenty coming through the system, but we are struggling to fill lorries. The policy of keeping older sows is starting to leave its legacy.
However, the first benefits of our refurbishment are showing through; the centreless auger system has had a new lease of life, with the probes working well.
The engineers also did some work on the ventilation system in one of the finishing buildings. With every fan working to its full potential we have prevented pens from getting dirty, but hot weather has still to arrive.
In an effort to control dirty pen syndrome, I had a look at misting systems at the last pig fair, and as refurbishments continue we will build these into our plan.
I have received many calls regarding my comments on the improvement in milking ability of gilts.
The turn around in farrowing houses, following changes to dry sow and lactating diets, has been remarkable. The main change being inclusion of some whole rape in the dry sow diet and increasing fishmeal in the farrowing diet.
Over the last five years we have built up a local fresh pork market on our doorstep, supplying the local butcher.
The Highlands of Scotland are the last area in the country still to have some traditional butchers, unfortunately, they require a small pig by todays standards and are now asking for the carcasses to have more back fat. Sometimes you feel you cant win, but he who pays the piper. *
At last pig prices have risen above £1/kg, but Dennis Bridgeford hasnt enough pigs to sell now.