Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 8°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Old Newton: BQP contract helps farmer’s son get back into agriculture

12:37 20 August 2014

Pig producer Ben Luxford, right, with Jamie Baker, managing director of Quality Equipment, during the open day on his farm.

Pig producer Ben Luxford, right, with Jamie Baker, managing director of Quality Equipment, during the open day on his farm.


More than 100 visitors to an open day on a Suffolk farm learned how contract finishing has given an enterprising farmer’s son a kick-start in pig production.

Ben Luxford has made a major investment into two acres of land and a brand new 1,000 pig place straw-based finishing house at Old Newton, near Stowmarket.

The 500-acre family farm could not support Ben, who instead began work as a self-employed carpenter. However, he has now negotiated a five-year contract finishing agreement with British Quality Pigs (BQP) which will give him a steady, low-risk income.

He bought the land from his father — at the going market rate — and, on the advice of BQP, approached Woolpit-based Quality Equipment to erect the 200ft by 50ft steel portal-framed building.

The pig building has 22 pens, with plastic divisions, down the centre and push-through dunging passages against the outer walls. Feed is supplied to ad-lib hoppers, via conveyors from exterior bulk feed hoppers, and a bank of nipple drinkers is provided over a water-trough, to help young piglets.

A roll of, damp-proof membrane has been used to form a false ceiling over the pens to keep in heat when the piglets are young, and natural ventilation is controlled by automatically-adjusted curtains above the outer walls.

The solid-floored dung passages will be pushed through with a tractor-mounted scraper every one or two days, depending on the age of the pigs, and the muck stored on a walled pad at the end of the house.

The use of straw is important as the pigs are reared under a high-welfare Freedom Food contract. Ben has a straw-for muck arrangement with his father and reckons he will use around 85-acres worth of straw annually.

BQP supplies the pigs, feed and veterinary services while Ben provides the housing, straw, water, labour and day-to-day management for which he’s paid a gross annual income approaching £40 per pig place, made up of a weekly management fee, performance related bonuses and an 11 batch new-build payment.

The pigs are delivered at four weeks of age when weighing around 7kg and leave for slaughter between 15 and 20 weeks when reaching 108kg. The system should allow a throughput of 2.2 batches, producing 2,200 finished pigs a year.

The house cost £200,000 and the land £20,000, but Ben says this offers a secure way back into farming since he won’t have to worry about the fluctuating price of feed or weaners — the main input costs.

He reckons daily management will take about two hours, and is so confident about the enterprise as he is planning to put up a similar house in the next six months.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Corrie CCTV Screen

An abandoned van has been seized by police searching for missing RAF Honington serviceman Corrie McKeague, aged 23.

Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue team search for Corrie McKeague just outside Troston Slades Covert. Photo Mark Westley

Suffolk police officers are attempting to trace a group seen talking to Corrie McKeague at a pizza takeaway on the night of his disappearance.

Archie Joe Darby and Daniel-Jay Darby. Archie, four months, was killed and Daniel-Jay was seriously injured after being bitten by a dog at their Colchester home.

A four-month-old baby was snatched from his mother’s arms by the family dog and mauled to death, an inquest has heard.

Police were called to the crash

A man in his 30s is in hospital with serious injuries after a crash Stowmarket last night.

Ron Harris outside the first home he shared with his wife, Nina, at Shingle Street before the Second World War. Photo supplied for Life on the Edge by the Harris family.

It’s a place with tragedy and mystery in its past – but as many stories of resilient determination to build a community amid its wild and isolated environment.

Corrie McKeague's last ever sighting at 3.24am September 24 2016. CCTV still from Brentgovel Street, Bury St Edmunds. The building in the background is the edge of Cornhill Walk Shopping Centre

A video of the last ever sighting of Corrie McKeague has been released, as four weeks pass with no new leads.

Stock image of the A14 near Kentford.

Two speeding motorists who admitted driving at 130mph in Suffolk have been disqualified from driving.

Most read

Great Days Out


Click here to view
the Great Days Out


Most commented


Show Job Lists

Don't miss


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24