Unit Manger of the Year

Iwona Rosa

Iwona Rosa, Norfolk Free Range

Unit Manager of the Year Iwona Rosa, who manages Norfolk Free Range’s Skillington farm, in Lincolnshire, cited hard work and the right attitude as the key ingredients to success in the pig sector, after receiving her well deserved award.

The unit runs a 700-sow single parity GP breeding herd that supplies gilts to the company’s gilt grow-out unit in Sleaford. It is run on a three-week batch farrowing system, with weaners reared off-site.

It is the starting point for repopulating the company’s 10 breeding herds for the next two years, with the aim of improving health and performance and reducing antibiotic usage.

It has a robust vaccination programme, including salmonella vaccination, which is key to ultimately reducing antibiotic use in the growing herd. This programme is then carried through into the progeny that are
moved to the gilt grow-out unit.

“It’s our belief that vaccinating a healthy animal will give stronger immune response and this will be passed on to the commercial growing pig,” said Iwona, who sets exacting standards, and demands the same of her team.

The Skillington GP unit is geographically bio-secure, with its placement in Lincolnshire away from Norfolk Free Range’s other holdings.

“The location does lead to slight
logistical challenges, such as further distance to haul feed and supplies, but the benefits of being away from East Anglia’s free-range pig population are worth the added inconveniences,” she said.

Skillington records its data in PigVision, as do all Norfolk Free Range breeding units. The herd uses EID tags, as well as a management tag, and an EID wand limits mistakes in data from misreads.

Iwona’s farm is one of only two in Norfolk Free Range that are putting their own herd data direct into PigVision Mobile.

“This reduces time spent on data entry by the admin team, but also means I have a digital version of the most up-to-date herd data,” she said.

On winning the award, she added: “It’s a fantastic achievement and great honour. II’ve worked hard to get to where I am now – and it’s a really nice feeling to be recognised.

“The biggest challenge in my role is finding the right people, with a good attitude and passion for work, with whom you can create the perfect team that will help you achieve success – there is strength in a team.

“Hopefully, I can inspire more women to involved and get them to believe they also can achieve success in the pig industry. “Everything is possible if we work hard and have the right attitude.”

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