A purpose-built piglet nursery on a Suffolk farm has saved enough piglets to improve returns by more than £79,000 in just a year.
When Rattlerow Farms installed the portable, container-style nursery on its 600-sow commercial unit at Hill House Farm, Stradbroke, it estimated that it would enable the farm to rear about 700 extra pigs annually. In fact, this prediction was almost spot-on.
Agrosoft records show that average numbers born alive from the prolific Whiteland sows have been remarkably consistent at between 13.5 and 13.7 during the past three years. However, since the delivery of the nursery, designed and built by Quality Equipment, mortality has fallen dramatically with a proportional rise in numbers reared.
Sows are farrowed in batches of 80 every three weeks, and farrowing house manager Jamie Brown weans litters of heavier piglets early to enable the sows to foster smaller pigs. This is normally done at eight to 10 days, but they have been successful in rearing pigs as early as five days.
Transition Feeders within the nursery enable the pigs to be given warm milk initially, then a variety of specialist diets, both wet and dry, as they grow. A trial compared the post-weaning performance of piglets from the farrowing house against piglets reared through the nursery, recording their weights at the weaning age of 28 days and then again 13 days later.
Although the piglets from the nursery were initially lighter than the average from the farrowing house, during the trial period they gained 1.66kg more and finished heavier at 11.54kg, compared with 11.11kg from the farrowing house, an increase of 128g/day/pig across 980 pigs.
Quality Equipment has always prided itself on being a down-to-earth company. This was certainly the case for seven members of staff who got their hands – and everything else – dirty while taking part in the Only The Brave mud obstacle run. The event took place at Elveden Estates, near Thetford on Sunday 2nd April.
The aim was to raise £500 for the company’s favoured charity, the East Anglian Air Ambulance service. Pledges at over £1,000 have more than doubled this sum. A team of seven took part, plus two non-QE staff, with some tackling the five-mile and others braving the ten-mile course with over 40 obstacles!
Due to increased demand for Paneltim by pig farmers, Quality Equipment has extended its storage area by 220m² (2368 sq ft) at its Woolpit, Suffolk, base.
This will enable the company to stock an extra 5,000m² (53,819 sq ft) of the plastic panel, widely used in piggeries, particularly for pen division and gates. It offers substantial benefits in terms of strength and hygiene over many traditional materials.