Scotland’s new pig monitor farm is Mill of Carden, near Inverurie, which is owned by Patrick Stephen and has a commercial herd of 530 sows, housed on straw.
Run as a pig unit since the 1960s, Mill of Carden is the latest monitor unit to be selected by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Opportunity North East (ONE) as a key focus for the sector in Scotland.
“We take real pride in what we do but there is always room for improvement and there will definitely be opportunities to introduce changes to further improve our system,” said Mr Stephen, who is also chairman of Scottish Pig Producers.
“We would also like to focus on weighing and data collection to ensure we can very closely monitor our costs of production. We’re looking forward to sharing what we learn along the way with other producers and hopefully their businesses can benefit from our experiences too.”
A further area which Mr Stephen is keen to explore is an evaluation of the two different types of feed systems which he currently runs – one is ad-lib and the other is restricted feeding.
The unit, which currently employs four members of staff, including farm manager Wayne Ducker, and runs JSR females with a Danbred terminal sire, was warmly welcomed to the monitor farm system by QMS pig specialist, Allan Ward.
“The farm is a great example of a pig business which is performing well but recognises that there is scope for further improvement and that small changes can deliver significant gains,” he said.
“The enthusiasm of Patrick and his team to get involved in this project and to share what they learn for the benefit of the whole industry gives us a great base to start from. We’re looking forward to working with the Mill of Carden team and I’m certain the project will deliver a great deal over the next four years.”
Headline image shows (l-r) Allan Ward, Wayne Ducker and Patrick Stephen