The farming column with Sam Walton

B&B pigs on fully strawed bedding.
B&B pigs on fully strawed bedding.

One of our biggest holiday lets is bed and breakfast, many people have used those facilities for a long time and it is not just confined to UK.

So pig farmers, not to be outdone, also have bed and breakfast arrangements and it is probably the largest growth area in our pig industry today.

B&B pigs are shown in a specialist unit.

B&B pigs are shown in a specialist unit.

Why would that be? Years ago each farm would have a few pigs and either sell them once weaned for other people to fatten, or would fatten them themselves.

As numbers grew more specialised buildings were required and as the pigs developed genetically and grew faster, it became apparent that it would be better for the younger pigs to have separate accommodation away from older pigs and thus avoid any bugs which could be passed on.

It was also recognised that certain pig farmers were better at breeding the pigs than they were at finishing them.

If they could release a number of pigs to a third party, that would enable them to have more sows and concentrate on the breeding, whilst retaining ownership of the pigs and paying a third party to look after them.

That would entail the contract finisher to supply the correct type of buildings, the straw or specialist pig buildings, whilst the owner the pigs supplies the feed and any medicinal requirements.

It also gives the contract finisher manure or slurry for his land as an added bonus and often the finisher is paid a bonus if the pigs grow at a certain rate and convert their feed well.

Many of the farms now doing the finisher job, could well have been former breeders who decided they were better at finishing then breeding.

There are also cases where a son or daughter have come home from college and wanted to start another aspect to the farm business.