Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°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

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A former servicemen has been banned from driving after crashing his car on Remembrance Sunday while nearly three times the legal alcohol limit.

Concerns for police staff over jobs

Hundreds of Suffolk Constabulary civilian staff face an anxious wait this week to discover the impact of a multi-million pound cost-cutting programme.

Tim Holder, director of the Suffolk Community Foundation, with Surviving Winter supporter, former journalist and TV presenter Christine Webber

A campaign to combat fuel poverty in Suffolk has helped more than 100 people to stay warm this winter in the first three weeks since its launch.

Braintree woman Josie Lucas, who has flown to Mexico to find missing boyfriend Dean Lucas

An Essex woman has flown out to Mexico amid growing concerns for her partner who went missing on a trip in Mexico last week.

Drink-driver in court

A company director has lost his licence after admitting drink-driving while travelling at 94mph on the A14.

Ipswich Crown Court.

A 21-year-old Ipswich man who attacked two guests at a party with a machete has been jailed for nine years.

Rail passengers are facing a day of disruption due to overrunning engineering work in Cambridgeshire.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24