Aug
10
Natural England – Outdoor pig farming film


choosing the right site for outdoor pig
keeping is critical to protect the environment, look after the animals and
achieve the most efficient production. The catchment sensitive farming project is
helping farmers like David Robinson produce the best meat while reducing
pollution and damage to the environment. His farms now become a demonstration
model for the BQP Eco-project part-funded by Defra which aims to reduce the carbon
footprint of higher welfare pig production it all starts with where the pigs are placed It’s vital for us right from the off that we get
the correct site. We like sandy soils, free draining not too much of a slope. It’s also vitally important that
you get your landlord on side so he understands exactly what you require and the involvement of Pigwise with
their assessment joins all three up and we end up with a
site that we can manage effectively. Working with the experts really helped David Robinson get the basics right but there were more elements to consider. As well as looking at slope and location the
most important thing also is potential connectivity to things like watercourses on some sites if runoff or sedimentation was to occur
then it could run off into a surrounding ditch or watercourse and it’s best to try and
identify that right from the outset. Ideally, the topsoil should be sandy loam or loamy sand and in an ideal world that would be over sand or gravel to allow the site to be
free-draining. Free-draining means that birds aren’t attracted
to the site which is good for the pigss and the
local environment. The measures that we’ve taken on this site
to deliver the highest environmental benefit we can,
basically trough feeding and the use of troughs on this site means
that we can reduce the carbon footprint of the whole business, there’s less standing water and a lot less birds using the site David Robinson also introduced wide
buffer zones with tussocky-long grass to filter out sentiment but there are some things that he’s still
working on. It’d be great to have pigs on grass all
the time but certainly on mineral soils and vegetable
crop rotations we found that the legacy of grass after
pigs is expensive to reclaim to hand back to the landlord and we’re working our way towards finding some way
else of stopping the mineral soils blowing rather than grass. And the best solutions don’t have to be
complicated or expensive. One of the simplest things that we’ve
done on this unit is the use of and these wide low ground pressure tyres, which help to reduce compaction on farm tracks and
minimise runoff. Using the right tyre types and pressures
on this unit also reduces fuel consumption by about ten percent. Troughs and measured amounts of feed can
save another fifteen percent in costs. That’s all good news for farmers. This project has been very good for us. It’s shown us where we can save an awful lot of cost in in our system. It has reduced our carbon output. We can produce a really high welfare British pork product for a discerning
consumer I think the way going forward will be
to reduce costs, more output, higher welfare It’s been great to work with David
because he’s been so enthusiastic to try various environmental measures it’s nice to work with somebody that is
willing to try different mitigation measures on farm and once we know those work we are more
confident to go out and speak to other farmers who are perhaps more nervous about trying new mitigation measures. To find out how the CSF can help you to
take measures to improve the environment, animal welfare and the efficiency of
production Please visit our website