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Northamptonshire producer wins Farmers Weekly award

11th Feb 2021 / By Alistair Driver

Pioneering Northamptonshire pig producer Charlie Thompson has won the Farmers Weekly Pig Farmer of the Year Award. 

Charlie Thompson FW

Bridge House Farm is a nucleus breeding unit with 900 sows, supplying breeding stock for Genesus Genetics, with every pig weighed at birth and EID tagged, so performance can be recorded throughout its life. 

FW described the business, which also picked up the Indoor Producer of the Year at the 2020 National Pig Awards, as a 'global leader when it comes to the use of technology on pig units'. 

Not only is it one of the first farms to use EID and ultra-high frequency (UHF) tags, it is also using a feed system that individually feeds pigs in pens depending on their sex and size.

Charlie is described as 'the driving force behind the adoption of technology', working with industry leaders to help design a system that means he can record everything from individual birthweights and litter performance to weaning weights, intramuscular fat and conformation traits.

Breeding stock is sold around the UK, Europe and further afield, including shipments to China for the first time last year. 

Welfare is a priority - a whole range of environmental enrichment is provided, from bowling balls to rope, wood and plastic, which are rotated daily. 

The runners up were Wayland Farms' Colin Stone and Stephen and Karen Thompson, who run a 210-sow unit with their own butchery business near Sheffield. 

You can read more about Charlie and the other finalists HERE

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies, who was the independent judge for the pig award, congratulated the winner and the other finalists for getting this far. 

Commenting on the winner, she said: “Charlie is an impressive pig producer who is innovative, brave, willing to try new things and has great enthusiasm and drive to further the genetics and his business. He is an advocate for showing high welfare in intensive slatted systems.”