It is always nice to start a column with good news – planning permission has been granted for our new finishing house and the sooner we can get on with it, the better.
The support we have had from both Gamlingay Parish Council and our local district councillors has helped enormously and it was well worth taking the time to meet people and talk through the plans before they were submitted.
We are also very busy with hog roasts, most of which have been booked well in advance, but the good weather we have been experiencing has also led to many last minute orders – and some rather hectic weekends.
I was lucky enough to judge both Large Whites and Durocs at the Great Yorkshire Show last month. There were a total of 347 pigs entered from all over the country.
Although the first day was rather wet, the second day improved and the crowds around the pig rings were excellent.
The British Pig Association’s (BPA) junior pig club were busy helping man the Pig Centre, an information marquee near the pig rings where visitors were able to discover more about the British pig industry.
Shows are one of the few places where the public can see pigs and they are a great public relations exercise for the whole pig industry, especially when we are having so many problems with the various vegan and vegetarian organisations.
Having arrived back from the show on the Wednesday evening, we re-packed our bags and flew to Belfast first thing on Thursday for a visit to Finrone Systems, on the outskirts of Londonderry.
We have recently ordered a new farrowing house, so we went to see how they are constructed. On arrival, we saw a 44-crate house being finished off in the factory. This was constructed in four sections, three of which were complete and had been moved outside while the final section was being finished off alongside another farrowing house, which was just being started.
“Showa era one of the few places where the public can see pigs and they are a great public relations exercise for the whole pig industry”
On Friday morning, we watched this four-section house being loaded onto lorries ready for their journey.
This was a highly organised operation with each section being loaded with a minimum of fuss and then thoroughly checked before it left.
The overhang on the sides of the articulated trailers makes you realise how wide these buildings are when being transported.
Beside the last section of the 44-crate farrowing house, the tank had been fabricated for the next building, giving us a chance to see a part of the building that is normally hidden when complete.
The staff at Finrone made us really welcome, and we had a very informative visit to both of the company’s factories and a chance to look around Londonderry.