Young Farmer of the Year
James Innes is a partner in the family business, based in Aberdeenshire. The farm has arable land, sheep, cattle and pigs, including 750 sows, with gilts sold to JSR and boars taken to finishing.
James said: “I am honoured to be named Young Pig Farmer of the Year, however, it was not expected. Having said that, the evening was very prestigious and I enjoyed the food and entertainment along with meeting all the different people.”
He left school at 15 to join the family and has now been working in the business for 23 years.
The farm restocked a year ago and a new piggery was recently built, involving a significant investment in new buildings. It is paying off, with the new piggery delivering improved results.
James said: “Because the buildings are constructed of modern-day materials there is plenty light and a good ventilation which is ideal for both pigs and humans.
“Some of the good results are coming from the service shed where we installed enough free access stalls which allows us to keep them there until scanning at five weeks before being transferred to a dry sow shed.”
James added: “A Weda netrix baby feed system has been installed in the farrowing sheds which is also proving to enhance the weight of the baby pigs before weaning.”
The business has signed a five-year contract with JSR Genetics, showing a long-term commitment to pig production.
James said: “We were looking to add something more to the business due to changes in the industry. When JSR contacted us to see if we would be interested in a long-term contract for producing hi-health gilt pigs, we gave it serious consideration and, as JSR is a leading company within the pig world, we decided to take the risk.
For those people thinking about working in the pig industry, James said: “My advice is everyday is a school day and a different challenge awaits you at the gate, however, it is rewarding to see the end results when you get it right.”
James added: “Put simply, looking after the stock is the best part of my job.”
What the Judges said:
“James travelled extensively to find ideas for development of his unit back at home”