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Wayland to move all sows outdoors

14th Mar 2018 / By Jane Jordan

Wayland meeting

The East Anglian-based integrated pig production company, part of the Cranswick PLC, is planning to boost capacity to meet a rising demand for high-welfare, quality assured pork products, both at home and overseas. 

Speaking to contract producers at a recent meeting held in Diss, Norfolk, Charles Bowes, the company's operations director, explained how multi-million pound investments to streamline the company’s genetics/breeding programme and restructure its finishing operation have helped improve pig health and increase production efficiency throughout its production process.

The company based at Watton, ranks within the top third of UK pig producers and continues to report improvements to herd productivity and performance across its own farms and contracted units.

“We’re 100% committed to pig production; we’re here for the long term. Our results are progressive, we’re on target to meet objectives and plan to invest more than £4.5 million in our pig finishing facilities during the next year. It’s all part of an expansion programme, linked closely to Cranswick’s developments, and its good news for our region’s pigs sector and the British pig industry,” said Mr Bowes.

But burgeoning prospects for pig production in East Anglia could be restricted by land availability as many outdoor producers are finding it increasingly difficult to secure tenancies on suitable sites.

“Reasonable rents for light land are hard to come by. Land values remain high and there’s stiff competition from the vegetable growers. They seem to be in a much stronger position than us,” said Mr Bowes.

All of Wayland’s breeding sows will be on outdoor farms within the next 18 months as two indoor units in Norfolk will be decommissioned and replaced with new, larger herds located in Norfolk and Suffolk. The vacant sites will be refurbished to provide additional finishing accommodation.

The Diss meeting, sponsored by MSD Animal Health, carried an underlying theme of health and disease management. Consultant vet Steve Youngs MRCVS from Oakwood Veterinary Group in Harleston, explained how Wayland’s proactive, structured approach to health management is benefiting rearing herd performance and minimising medication use.

“The two-site rearing strategy means pigs are only mixed at weaning, which has made a huge difference to health and productivity overall. Using dedicated nurseries to rear piglets on from weaning at four weeks of age until they are 35/40kgs has also helped us to stabilise health status and build immunity. Mortality rates are lower and we’ve seen notable improvements in daily growth, feed efficiency and performance overall,” he explained.

NPA comment

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies welcomed news that Wayland was looking to up production. "This is good news for the pig sector - it is great to see a business expanding, given the current competitive climate. This reflects confidence in the pig sector about the level demand for high quality British pigmeat on the domnestic market - and also our growing export markets."