Pig producer set to move all sows outdoors as part of £4.5m expansion plans

Charles Bowes, operations director, Wayland Farms. Picture: WAYLAND FARMS/CRANSWICK

Charles Bowes, operations director, Wayland Farms. Picture: WAYLAND FARMS/CRANSWICK - Credit: Wayland Farms, Cranswick plc

An East Anglian pig producer is aiming to boost its output across Norfolk and Suffolk and move all of its breeding sows outdoors to meet market demand.

Steve Youngs, Oakwood Vet Group. Picture: STEVE YOUNGS/OAKWOOD VET GROUP

Steve Youngs, Oakwood Vet Group. Picture: STEVE YOUNGS/OAKWOOD VET GROUP - Credit: Archant

Wayland Farms, based at Watton in Norfolk and part of Cranswick plc, which processes around 20,000 pigs a week, plans to invest more than £4.5m in its pig finishing facilites.

It wants to boost production to meet rising demand for high-welfare, quality assured pork products, both at home and overseas, operations director Charles Bowes told contract producers at a meeting in Diss in February.

All of its breeding sows will be on outdoor farms within the next 18 months. Two remaining indoor units, based in Norfolk, will be decommissioned and replaced with new, larger herds located in Suffolk and Norfolk. The vacant sites will be refurbished to provide additional finishing accommodation.

Mr Bowes explained how the company had streamlined its genetics and breeding programme and restructured its finishing operation following a multi-million pount investment aimed at helping it improve pig health and increase efficiency throughout its pig production process.

Pig producers at the Waylands Farm meeting at Diss. Picture: JANE JORDAN

Pig producers at the Waylands Farm meeting at Diss. Picture: JANE JORDAN - Credit: Jane Jordan Journalism & PR


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“We’re 100% committed to pig production and here for the long term. Our results are progressive. We’re on target to meet objectives and we plan to invest more than £4.5m in our pig finishing facilities during the next year,” he said. “It’s all part of an expansion programme, linked closely to Cranswick’s developments, and it’s good news for our region’s pigs sector and the British pig industry.”

The firm, which is said to be third biggest UK pig producer, has improved productivity and herd performance, but said it faced challenges in finding suitable land.

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“Reasonable rents for light land are hard to come by. Land values remain high and there’s stiff competition from vegetable growers as they seem to be in a much stronger position than us,” said Mr Bowes. Pig production operates on much tighter margins than vegetable production and requires a longer lease, he explained. Delegates were told about moves to improve pig health. Consultant vet Steve Youngs from Oakwood Veterinary Group in Harleston, explained how Wayland’s proactive and structured approach to management was minimising medication use.

Pig producers at the Waylands Farm meeting at Diss. Picture: JANE JORDAN

Pig producers at the Waylands Farm meeting at Diss. Picture: JANE JORDAN - Credit: Archant

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