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Meet our 2019 National Pig Awards Winners!

The National Pig Awards took place on Monday 18th November at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London.

The event, organised by Pig World, was attended by 430 people, a new record in its six-year history.

A total of 15 National Pig Awards were handed out on the night, as well the NPA’s Chris Brant Award and the David Black Award.

Pig World publisher Simon Lewis said: “Congratulations to all our winners. Once again these awards have highlighted the breadth and depth of talent, drive and ambition in the pig sector and is a pleasure to recognise the winners, but also all of those shortlisted, which, in itself, is a great achievement.”

Producer of the Year

Sponsored by 

  •  Harper Adams University 

Richard Hooper is livestock unit manager at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, a 230-sow farrow-to-finish unit. In the last 12 months, the business has constructed a new fully slatted, fully environmentally controlled 800-place, two room, weaner building for pigs from weaning to 40kg. It is designed to have flexible pen sizes for research from six pigs/pen to 25 pigs/pen, to be labour efficient and to have the optimum environment for the pigs. The unit now monitors piglet feeding behaviour through EID tags and readers in the farrowing area. The unit has actively been finding new outlets for its pork rather than relying solely on marketing to a large processor. The unit supplies all the pork for the kitchens at Harper, all the pork for a local award-winning butcher and supplies a small processor.

Outdoor Producer of the Year

Sponsored by

  • Wayland Farms

Wayland Farms is a large-scale producer of outdoor reared pigs operating a high health status herd of 10,000 sows and gilts. The company supplies the premium pork retail market and has been working directly with Tesco for more than 25 years. All pigs are finished on straw on both owned and contracted farms, to 110kgs live weight. There is a total of 80 sites covering a three-stage system: breeding, nursery and finishing supplying the highest quality pork into a dedicated processing and packing site owned by Cranswick. The investment made saw a different type of feeding system installed and then different food was used, a smaller, thin type compared with normal roll feed. This movement to trough feeding has produced reduction in feed waste and soil pollution.

Indoor Producer of the Year

Sponsored by

  • Harper Adams University

Richard Hooper is livestock unit manager at Harper Adams University and runs a 230-sows farrow-to-finish three-week batch farrowing unit, all indoors. The unit is a standalone enterprise within the university and as such it has been able to maintain a program of reinvestment which has enabled it to demonstrate and evaluate a number of technologies. The unit supports the research projects of 15 final year students a year including up to eight pig industry scholarship students. The unit is currently using Agrisyst recording as part of the AHDB Precision Pig Project. It has built a fully slatted, fully environmentally controlled 800 place, two room, weaner building for pigs from weaning to 40kg.

Finisher of the Year

Sponsored by

  • William de Feyter, de Feyter Agri

William de Feyter took on the 160 pigs from his father Edward at Athills Farm in Norfolk after returning from Harper Adams University three years ago. Not long after returning, he started renting Bristows Farm, a local piggery from a neighbour of 800 places. He runs a 7-100kg straw-based finishing system. A daily scrape through system at Bristows farm consists of three buildings, with 20-30 pigs per pen. Athills Farm consists of two small yards with 60 in each. The piggery has a unique fan system installed which allows air to be blown across the pens in the hotter weather.

Herd Productivity Award

Sponsored by

  • P & M Pigs

Paul Hume and his team run a 950-sow outdoor breeding unit on a three-week batch production system, weaning at four weeks old at 7.5kg. He moved sites in Autumn 2017 and had a repopulation at the same time, with this, he and the team did a full clean and disinfect on all their equipment. The new site was based 10 miles away, and the fields had been sown with grass ready for the arrival of the new stock. The new sows are a cross of Danish Landrace and White Duroc and the grandparents are Pure Landrace. He has a complete closed herd and serves his grandparents with White Duroc normally, but every 20+ months he serves the highest performing grandparents with LR semen to produce a completely new batch of grandparents. His herd has been closed since the last load of gilts came off the lorry in November 2017.

Innovation of the Year

  • Bridge House Farms, EID used to register piglets at birth

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 ID’d 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 individually at birth, weaning and finishing/off test using this system. This allows accurate mapping of data and pig performance to enhance genetic selection. The system was mostly designed by staff and business development manager Charlie Thompson to fit into the working routine and delivered by Charman Ag to its spec.

Marketing Initiative of the Year

Sponsored by

  • Dingley Dell Pork

Suffolk-based Mark & Paul Hayward own Dingley Dell Pork. The farm has 900 sows, which are farrowed-to-finish. All animals are outdoors with five-week weaning, then weaners and finishers are put in tents with hurdled runs. The unit is moved or flipped every six months so that it can grass and undersow with clover or grow flowers to support its million bees on farm project. The Hayward’s have a business partner who has a 24-hour butchery supplying 600 restaurants a day around London and the south east. In partnership, it has developed a range of products and it has recently launched Dingley Dell Cured, a joint venture charcuterie factory.

NPA Allied Member of the Year

  • MS Schippers

MS Schippers offers an extensive assortment of products and solutions for pig farming, but is much more than a supplier of products for livestock in Europe and beyond. Its HyCare method is a holistic approach to managing pigs, combining biosecurity and other steps that put health and animal welfare first without losing sight of productivity. The most important theme of the HyCare method is hygiene. The company stresses that animals living in a healthy environment suffer less disease and stress and have an improved resistance, leading to a significant decrease in antibiotic use. The company says: “We have had a great ‘Passion for Farming’ for 50 years now. We serve livestock farmers and go to great lengths for it.”

Pedigree Breeder of the Year

  • Christopher Impey, Fairoaks Pedigree Pigs

Christopher Impey owns Fairoaks Pedigree Pigs in Tonyrefail, Mid Glamorgan, where he keeps a small herd of pedigree Berkshire pigs. He usually keeps around six sows and four boars. All his litters are pure bred and birth notified and, depending on particular bloodlines, the average litter is between eight and ten. With two farrowing intervals per year, he said that he registers two or three per litter. He registers around 15-20 pedigree pigs per year. He exports pedigree pigs all across the world. He has taken pigs to Italy, Germany, Belgium, France, Sweden and Holland and sent pigs to Mexico, Japan, America, and even to Barbados.

Special Achievement of the Year

Sponsored by

  • Stephen Thompson, Moss Valley Fine Meats

Stephen Thompson is the owner of Moss Valley Fine Meats, a Derbyshire-based business that has 220 sows to finish and an on-farm butchery that uses only its own stock. Mr Thompson left school and went to Nottingham University, where he not only got a degree in agriculture, but met Karen, who now runs the pig unit, while he works on the butchery side. The pig unit was started as soon as Mr Thompson left university, with him building new sheds and expanding each year. He is now refurbishing sheds each year, with the greatest use of easy-to-clean plastic, so the business can keep disease levels low.

Stockman of the Year

Sponsored by

  • Jess Graves, Grove Farm

Jess Graves is farrowing/weaner manager at Grove Farm a 700 sow farrow-to-finish business in York. The farm has 119 nearly refurbished farrowing crates, while the sows are on a tri-bar system within the farrowing house and the piglet creep area consists of an underfloor heater which she manages. This is all operated by wood pellets and bio mass boilers. The farm runs a four-week batch system, farrowing, on average, 124 sows weaning a 7kg piglet. She has worked at Grove Farm for more than two and a half years. Previously, she completed two years at Bishop Burton College studying pigs and passed her veterinary medicine qualification.

Trainee of the Year

Sponsored by

  • Oliver Havers, BQP

Oliver joined the BQP Growing Team in December 2017 on an apprenticeship working alongside the field staff who oversee the straw-based growing operation. BQP currently own over 60,000 outdoor breeding sows and have over 300,000 growing pig places spread over East Anglia, and the rest of England. Oliver has been working in the pig industry for the last six years working on the family’s local pig unit in his spare time and school holidays. At 18 years old, he finished at Stradbroke High School two years ago. He worked with BQP during a two-week work experience in year 10, working alongside Stephen Bennett and Mark Jagger.

Unit Manger of the Year

Sponsored by

  • Ben Brown, Norfolk Free Range

Ben Brown is unit manager of Southrepps Farm, a 1,200-gilt agistor breeding unit, owned by Norfolk Free Range. Steve Hart, director of Norfolk Free Range, said that Ben has found skills he didn’t know he had and learnt others he thought were beyond his reach. He’s been able to covert a community that was largely anti-pigs into supporters of his free-range breeding unit. From engaging with the village Facebook page and using that forum to introduce himself and his staff and to answer questions about methods of production, always with kindness and humility, to taking time out to show walkers and passers-by around, under strict biosecurity.

Young Farm Vet of the Year

Sponsored by

  • Alasdair Macleod, Garth Pig Practice

Alasdair MacLeod, qualified in 2010, and works for the Garth Pig Practice in East Yorkshire. He qualified from Universidad Cardenal Herrera in Valencia, Spain, having also spent an Erasmus year of his studies at Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa in Portugal. When he finished university, he spent nine months managing the family farm of 750 sows and moved to Yorkshire in 2011 to work at breeding company ACMC as assistant production manager to Malcolm Stead. In 2012, he took a job with Garth Partnership and moved to North East Scotland, mainly working with a large outdoor producer. Over the following years this client grew, increasing the herd size dramatically, whilst he also gained new clients in Scotland. In 2018, he moved back to Spain, but continued to work mainly in the UK.

Young Pig Farmer of the Year

Sponsored by

  • James Innes, J C Innes & Sons

James Innes is a partner in the family business, which is based in Aberdeenshire. The farm works with arable, sheep, cattle and pigs. It has 750 sows and sell gilts to JSR and boars to finishing. He left school at 15 to join the family business and this year celebrates 23 years working in the business. A new piggery was recently built which is proving to give better results than the old piggery, and he said a lot of money has been invested in the new buildings. The business has also signed a five-year contract with JSR Genetics, which has secured the long-term future of the pigs.

Congratulations to all our 2019 winners!