Northamptonshire nucleus breeding unit, Bridge House Farm, has won the Overall Pig Producer of the Year Award at the 2023 National Pig Awards.
A total of 15 National Pig Awards, plus the much sought-after Chris Brant and David Black Awards were handed out at the ceremony in London, on Monday night, hosted by TV presenter Cherry Healey.
The Northamptonshire unit was also named Indoor Pig Producer of the Year and prevailed in a head-to-head contest with Outdoor Pig Producer of the Year, Horton Farms, in Norfolk, to pick up the overall.
Bridge House Farm, which won the indoor title in 2020, runs a 900-sow nucleus breeding unit operating on behalf of Canadian genetics company, Genesus, with animals sold for breeding across the UK, Europe and beyond, including China and Africa.
One of the country’s most tech savvy pig farms, it was among the first pig units in the world to use EID tags. Every piglet is individually tracked from birth with touch screen software developed in-house. This has improved data accuracy to 100%, while bulk reading of pigs has made life much easier for staff.
As well as its targeted use of technology and data, the family-run business attributes much of its success to its motivated and well-trained staff team.
As if to prove the point, Bridge House’s Rebecca Marshall picked up the Trainee of the Year Award.
Outdoor winner, Horton Farms is 1,000-sow BQP outdoor breeding unit, run by John and Isabelle Leader. It recently converted to the five-week weaning system and has resolved the issues this presented for its vaccination programme with new software that successfully predicts vaccine volumes.
The business also attributes much of its success to the quality and longevity of its staff, which it says has given it ‘strength, stability and security’.
This year saw the introduction of the Sustainable Farming Award. The inaugural winners were the Lincolnshire Pork Company, which has recently incorporated rye into the cropping plan for more sustainable pig diets, while the farm is 155% self-sufficient in electricity. It has also made various steps to reduce its ammonia emissions.
All the winners:
- Overall Pig Producer of the Year – Bridge House Farm
- Indoor Pig Producer of the Year – Bridge House Farm
- Outdoor Pig Producer of the Year – Horton Farms
- Innovation of the Year – EIP/Pig Regen (NI) for PRRS Area Regional Control Programme
- Herd Productivity of the Year – Allen Farms (Coddington)
- Trainee of the Year – Rebecca Marshall, Bridge House Farm
- Young Pig Farmer of the Year, Oliver Killgallon, White Rose Farms, Brambles Farm
- Young Farm Vet of the Year – Tom Hill, The George Veterinary Group
- Unit Manager of the Year – James Ross, FL Pigs
- Finisher of the Year – Paul Howland, MP & PM Howland
- Stockperson of the Year – Christopher Chaney, North Farm Livestock
- Sustainable Farming Award – Lincolnshire Pork Co
- Marketing Initiative of the Year – HECK! FOOD
- Pedigree Breeder of the Year – Lisa Hodgson, The Woolyback Herd
- NPA Allied Industry Member of the Year – Ceva Animal Health.
Chris Brant and David Black Awards
The David Black Award went to one of the industry’s most familiar figures – Farmex’s Hugh Crabtree, the NPA’s current vice-chairman, who has been involved with the association since it was formed around the turn of the century.
The NPA’s Chris Brant Award was won by Sam Godfrey, who recently left the sector. The award is recognition for all he has done for the industry over the years as a leading pig producer and in lobbying for the industry as an NPA producer representative, particularly on environmental policy.
The event was attended by a record number of guests from across the industry.