Innovation of the Year
Business development manager Charlie Thompson said he was delighted to win the Innovation Award at the ceremony.
Northamptonshire-based Bridge House Farm is an indoor fully-slatted farrow-to-finish Genesus unit. The farm operates a three-stage finishing process, with around 650 sows.
All pigs born at Bridge House Farm are individually identified using a bespoke UHF RFID system (EID). This allows the individual ID of the pig to be registered at birth with 100% accuracy. Pigs are weighed at birth, weaning and finishing using the system, allowing accurate mapping of data and pig performance to enhance genetic selection.
Bridge House Farm keeps two of Genesus’ three lines, a Yorkshire dam line and the Genesus sire line, which is a Duroc. The Landrace dam line is also available in the UK.
Charlie said: “Dad was really impressed with the simplicity of the system, with only one sire line and two dam lines which allows us to test far more animals to keep the genetic progress as fast as possible.”
The farm signed a contract with Genesus, and destocked the farm by February 2017, and then began a six-month process to enable the farm to be ready for the first arrival of pigs from Canada.
The system was mostly designed by staff and Charlie to fit into the working routine. This has saved labour and created a more pleasant environment to work in, while optimising accurate data capture and removing the element of human error.
Charlie said: “We’re trying to track things as perfectly as we can; we’re trying to identify pigs as early as possible in the process and then track their performance all the way through.
“It’s been challenge and it’s now made the work/life balance of staff better and it’s made a lot of processes a lot smoother.”
The farm says it has deployed RFID EID and integrated it into the farming system to a greater extent than any other unit in the world.
Looking ahead, Charlie said: “We will continue using the tag to more benefit, including tracking more information – the more information we can track the better.”
Andy Brown, unit manager at Bridge House Farm, added: “We’ve got a finished product that we believe in and it’s driving the farm.”
What the judges said:
“Charlie and his team have proven the usefulness of ultra-high frequency ear tag technology on-farm”