National Pig Awards: Norfolk outdoor unit named 2021 Pig Producer of the Year

LSB Pigs, a 1600-sow outdoor unit, based in Norfolk, has won the overall National Pig Awards Producer of the Year.

The unit, run by Rob McGregor and owner Robert Battersby, was also named Outdoor Producer of the Year at the event, which, hosted by comedian Stephen K Amos, was attended by more than 400 people, in London on Monday night.

LSB Pigs came out on top in the head-to-head contest with the Indoor Producer of the Year, Bradshaw Farms, from Yorkshire, to determine the overall winner.

LSB operates a three-week batch farrowing system, with four-week weaning and in-house replacement gilt production. Recent performance figures include 27.8 pigs/sold/year, 13.6 born alive and 11.7 weaned/litter.

LSB Pigs' Rob McGregor and Robert Battersby received their award from ForFarmers' Craig Saunders  (rt), with host Stephen K Amos, left

LSB Pigs’ Rob McGregor and Robert Battersby received their award from ForFarmers’ Craig Saunders (rt), with host Stephen K Amos, left

They have established green cover crop trials with various organisations, including AHDB Norfolk Rivers Trust, Anglia Water and Kings Seeds, which have shown that these cover crops offer great advantages to the pigs’ health and welfare and important environmental benefits by preventing erosion and providing wildlife habitat.

Rob made it a double, also picking up the Unit Manager of the Year Award on the night.

The National pig Award judges, chaired once again by Stewart Houston, said Rob and Robert have an innovative approach to their outdoor pig production resulting in excellent outdoor performance.

The judges said: “Their trials work, including green cover crops and 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.”

Bradshaw Farms, run by Tom Bradshaw with his father, Tim, has 900 indoor sows in total, run over two nearby units.

Tim and Tom Bradshaw received their awards from ForFarmers' Craig Saunders (rightt), with host Stephen K Amos (left)

Tim and Tom Bradshaw received their awards from ForFarmers’ Craig Saunders (rightt), with host Stephen K Amos (left)

The farm averages 31 piglets sold/sow, with 15.5 born alive, 14.5 weaned and 6% pre-weaning mortality. FCR is 2.48. These figures continue to improve.

Since Tom joined the farm and they restocked, he and his father have invested approximately £2m into developing the pig unit from very little, including a restock and new farrowing, growing and fattening accommodation.

They five other members of staff, who are encouraged to implement their own ideas and, over the last 10 years the business has become so more efficient, and labour costs have reduced dramatically.

The judges described it as a ‘typical, well established indoor unit, with excellent herd performance, staff retention and engagement’. “They are regarded as part of the extended family, and that’s the secret behind really good mortality and other KPIs,” the judges said.

All the winners

In total, 15 National Pig Awards were handed out on the night.The winners were:

  • Overall and Outdoor Pig Producer of the Year – LSB Pigs
  • Indoor Pig Producer of the Year – Bradshaw Farms
  • Finisher of the Year – JH Wormington and Son
  •  Herd Productivity of the Year – R and C Mellor
  •  Innovation of the Year – Harry Wiseman
  • Marketing Initiative of the Year – Cannon Hall Farm
  •  NPA Allied Industry Member of the Year – Thompsons of York
  • Pedigree Breeder of the Year – Chris Hudson, Little John’s Hog Roast
  • Special Achievement of the Year – Julia James, Larkmean Veterinary Group
  • Stockman of the Year – Matt Swaine – Harper Adams
  • Trainee of the Year – Chloe Mellor – R and C Mellor
  • Unit Manager of the Year – Rob McGregor – LSB PIGS
  • Young Farm Vet of the Year – Michael Hamill – JMW Farms
  • Young Pig Farmer of the Year – Chloe Shorten – JC Innes

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About The Author

Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.