Bungay: Pig farmer wins ACMC laptop draw

A Bungay-based pig farmer is celebrating scooping a laptop and pig-recording package after entering a draw at the British Pig and Poultry fair earlier this year.

Stuart Mayhew, who runs a 360-sow farrow-to-finish operation, producing 9,000-10,000 pigs a year on his 500-acre farm, won a laptop computer and a year’s free subscription to PigCom, a windows-based pig management software package,in a prize worth �1,500.

The free draw was run by Yorkshire-based pig-breeding company ACMC Ltd. Stuart says he hopes the system, which includes technical back-up, will help him improve herd performance in key areas, such as farrowing index.

Limited finishing space and environmental considerations prevent any further expansion of his operation without huge expenditure on manure handling systems to meet IPPC regulations, so he says his only option is to become more efficient.

His current recording scheme “involves a fair level of paperwork”, he said, and finding usable data is very time-consuming , so he is looking for a more targeted system which simplifies essential data.

Pigs are sold to local company C & K Meats, which has a multi-species abattoir at Eye, with around 15 a week being sent to a specialist butcher in Beccles.

The pigs kill out at around 75 kg deadweight. Increasing the selling weight to improve returns is not an option because the abattoir specialises in the fresh meat ‘butcher’ market which requires lighter pigs than those required for processing. Nevertheless,

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The farm supplies 80 per cent of the cereals needed for Stuart’s home-mixed rations, which cushions him against the spike in feed prices, though last year he ran out of his own cereals before Christmas.

Despite difficult conditions in much of the country this year, an average yield of 3.6 tonnes per acre has been achieved from the 2012 harvest.

“Though cereal quality, as on many other farms, is not great it will make the farm far more self-sufficient. What a difference a year makes,” said Stuart.