Dennis Bridgeford farms 50ha (125 acres) at Petley Farm in Easter Ross, about 40 miles north of Inverness. The farm comprises of a 480-sow indoor unitproducing 95kg pigs for one outlet and 85kg pigs for a local abattoir. A further 320 sows are run outdoors, with progeny sold at 7kg. Land not used for pigs grows spring barley for feeding.
THE event in the farming year that I enjoy more than any is the Royal Highland Show. It goes back to the days when my father and I would go off for almost a week showing pigs.
In some ways its sad that those days are no longer with us, but it really brings home to me how far the pig industry has come in the past 25 years. Then, we were concerned that a Landrace boar might have a small black spot on its back, never mind the fact it might have a back fat measurement of 20mm plus.
I also note that an eminent cereal grower has been spouting forth that Scottish Quality Cereals is doing a disservice to the arable sector. As a person who uses considerable tonnages of grain a year I would hope to be able, within the next year, to buy only grain that meets the SQC criteria.
I buy more than 2000t of grain, and if there is one thing that gets me on my high horse, it is a load of grain that has part of a concrete floor and a piece of a combine in it; we spend too much time and money repairing damaged augers. Grain is a food and should be treated as such.
One of the best management decisions we made two years ago was to change from Large White boars to terminal sire boars. The problem with terminal sires used to be the fact that they were susceptible to stress problems.
We now purchase stress free boars and the improvement in carcass confirmation has been tremendous, plus the added benefit of higher killing out percentage and improved libido.
We try to weigh all lorry loads of pigs as they leave the farm, but its quite concerning to see the range of killing-out percentage between abattoirs. The calculation is made more difficult with the two different specs – Euro and UK. It is obvious that the price differential needs to be quite substantial for Euro dress to be equal to UK dress.n
Dennis Bridgeford would like to buy only cereals which meet Scottish Quality Cereals standards. This is in a bid to cut down the number of foreign bodies in grain damaging augers on the farm.