Congratulations to all our 2021 finalists and winners
Outdoor & Overall Producer of the Year, LSB Pigs
Rob and Robert have an innovative approach to their outdoor pig production resulting in excellent outdoor performance. Their trials work, including green cover crops, equipment testing and development benefits the wider industry. Breakfast team meetings and a generous production bonus generates a positive team spirit which is the foundation for their productivity success.
Indoor Producer of the Year, Bradshaw Farms
Bradshaw Farms has two farms in Yorkshire, in very close proximity to each other, with 900 sows. The farms stretch over 350 acres and the arable side of the farm is now completely contracted out, so Tom and his dad can focus on pig rearing. The farm currently has about 5,000 pigs on the main site and they also have 1,600 pigs on straw at a site 26 miles away.
Bradshaw Farms also have contracts for fattening – with three other sites, a total of 1,500 pigs.
Young Pig Farmer of the Year, Chloe Shorten
Chloe Shorten works on a 750 indoor sow breeding unit in Moray, which has just expanded to approximately 1,140. She began working as a stockperson/student at JC Innes in 2019
All the gilts are sold off the sow once weaned at about 28 days to JSR for breeding gilts. Chloe raises these for them on a bed and breakfast basis until 12 weeks old, when they are then sent to JSR.
Whilst undertaking her agricultural degree, she worked on a 200 sow indoor farrow-finish unit and she also helped on the Edinburgh pig research unit for a year.
Herd Productivity Award, R and C Mellor
Grange Farm is a 990-sow outdoor unit based in Norfolk, which operates a two-week batch production system, weaning piglets at five weeks old for the BQP Pilgrims supply chain. The sows are Landrace x Duroc and the unit is run as the main enterprise on a 360-acre council farm that Richard Mellor managed to secure seven years ago.
The farm has of 30 to 40 acres of woodland and permanent pasture and 230 acres down to cereals. Richard also have some sheep and contract fatten cattle. Every two years the pigs are rotated which provides many benefits to the land.
Marketing Initiative of the Year, Cannon Hall Farm
During lockdown, Cannon Hall Farm implemented a number of initiatives, including a Facebook supporter network, a community of farm fans that pay £3.49 a month to get extra behind the scenes footage of life on the farm. In less than a year, that network has grown to almost 4,000 people. Another initiative saw the farm launch an animal adoption scheme, where it offered people the chance to adopt their animals, to provide video updates about them and to send them farm tickets so they could visit when the farm was allowed to reopen.
Stockman of the Year, Matt Swaine
Matt Swaine is assistant manager of Harper Adams University’s 240 sows farrow to finish unit in Shropshire. Matt trained at Rodbaston and was one of the last pig students to graduate. He has worked for over twenty years on a variety of commercial outdoor and indoor units in Shropshire and Staffordshire and has worked on a boar nucleus in Oxfordshire. He joined Harper in January 2020. Matt designed, developed and constructed a ‘toy wall’ in each weaner and finisher pen which not only offers multiple manipulable material options, but also zones the pen into separate areas.
Trainee of the Year, Chloe Mellor
Chloe Mellor is trainee unit manager on the family-run council-rented farm of 380 acres in Norfolk. She started working with the pigs at the age of 14 helping wherever help was needed in dry sows and farrowing. The farm consists of a 990 sow outdoor sow breeding herd producing 10kg weaners to a high welfare standard for the BQP Tulip supply chain.
The herd has gilts in every six or nine weeks from a high health source and recently converted from four-week weaning/three-week batch to five-week weaning/two-week batch.
Chloe is now responsible for serving all the gilts and sows.
Unit Manager of the Year, Rob McGregor
Rob McGregor has worked with outdoor breeding sows for 33 years and the last 26 of those have been with LSB Pigs. During his time at LSB Pigs, Rob has been involved in a wide range of innovations and developments and he has helped BQP pioneer new production methods such as individual farrowing paddocks, batch farrowing and AI techniques. Currently, he is working with AHDB, Anglia Water and Norfolk Rivers Trust on a major green cover crop trial.
Finisher of the Year, J H Wormington and Son
The Wormington family has a 2,000 pig place wean to finish unit (7kg-110kg) in Worcestershire. The unit consists of two new build straw-based style sheds, designed working closely with AHDB Pork, using latest information on ventilation to include automatic blinds with fans and a sprinkler system all linked to temperature control. Weigh load cells on bulk feed bins and water metres allows for feed and water consumption to be monitored and recorded daily.
Young Farm Vet of the Year, Michael Hamill
Michael Hamill is a veterinary surgeon at JMW Farms in Armagh. He studied at the University of Glasgow and graduated in June 2013. He began his veterinary career in a mixed practice, Newry Veterinary Centre, where he remained for two years, before joining Mossvet to specialise in pigs in 2015. He remained there for three years before starting his current job with JMW Farms in November 2018. His current role is all pig work. The company runs around 15,000 sows across GB and Ireland.
Innovation of the Year, Harry Wiseman
Harry Wiseman’s original idea came from the move to five-week weaning and the requirement of split sexing, when his only member of staff was eight months pregnant; for the next refill, he saw the need to automate the process, and, therefore, the need to lift the pig for vaccination and split sexing. He drew up CAD drawings for the initial machine and then started to build a machine for the next incoming batch – pigs were loaded into the machine, successfully injected and split sexed by a single operator.
Special Achievement of the Year, Julia James
Julia James from Larkmead Veterinary Group in Oxfordshire. She is a practice partner and has 16 years’ experience in all farm species covering emergency medicine and surgery as well as preventative health planning. In the Spring of 2020, she was appointed to oversee the first shipment of Genesus breeding stock to China from its UK nucleus farms. Being the official vet in charge of an export of breeding pigs to China is a very demanding task.
Pedigree Breeder of the Year, Chris Hudson
Chris’ enthusiasm for the pigs and marketing of his pedigree pork shone through during the interview. What was particularly interesting, and set his presentation apart, was the performance monitoring and back fat testing that he carries out. His knowledge and experience are a real asset to the BPA.