2016 - Nov 18th: Award Winners 2016


It's end of the year and again time to celebrate successful farmers across the UK

Pig Farmer of the Year Award: Steve Hart, Norfolk Free Range

The well-known British agriculture magazine Farmers Weekly every year recognises the very best of British farmers to celebrate and reward their hard work and passion for the business.
Now in its 12th year, the Awards night has become a fixed date at farmer's diary and with fifteen award categories it encompass the whole spectrum of modern agriculture, from farm management to crop and arable farming to animal husbandry, including education and advisory.
This year Steve Hart from Norfolk made it to the top of the list for the Award of "Pig Farmer of the Year".
Steve has 13,000 outdoor sows and 75,000 growing pigs – With all PIC genetics the Camborough 50 females come from his own closed herd multiplication unit with the PIC327 semen being used as sireline.
Steve started with 300 sows in 1987 reaching around 1800 sows in 1999. Having worked with PIC for over 20 years Steve likes the security of having his own production system and amongst other things feels he achieves a robust animal suited to his system. Significant consideration is also given to the finished product to ensure that this is attractive to the end customer. So it is not surprising that he supplies companies like Waitrose, McDonald's and Chipotle.
Everything is well controlled. For the transport of pigs and feed Steve runs his own fleet of lorries to keep biosecurity on a high level. Healthy herds are of high priority, not only ensuring high welfare but also keeping antibiotics use to a minimum so avoiding any in-feed antibiotics.

Facts & Figures: "Norfolk Free Range", Steve Hart
  • high-welfare
  • farrow-to-finish
  • 13,000 outdoor sows
    • 10 breeding units
    • 3-week batch farrowing
    • 100 % AI
    • 25 weaned pigs/sow/year
    • 10-11% Pre-weaning mortality
  • 75,000 growers/finishers
    • 50,00 of these outdoors on 15 free-range sites
    • 750 g daily gain
    • 2.4 - 2.7 FCR
    • 21,600 indoor straw-based finishing places
  • 400 ha arable land
  • 90 employees

"People are a strong part of the success and if you do it right you will realise an effective team which is more than the sum of its parts," he says. People recruitment and development plays an important role for his success. Therefore, it is not a coincidence that he developed jointly with BQP a set of standard operating procedures.
One important factor to develop such business from Steve's point of view: He leaves nothing to chance. Might be seen as a "control freak" as he himself admits, but in fact it is the clear vision for his business, looking for the next step in innovation, working with people and - last but not least - hard work. "Never Stop Improving" - PIC's claim is a perfect fit to Steve’s business as well. Not surprising then that he is looking to further expand his business, possibly acquiring another large pig operation or follow a vison to build his own brand for processed products such as sausages.
More online at Farmers Weekly.

Two other significant Awards ceremonies were the National Pig Awards and BQPs own Annual Farmer Awards night. Congratulations need to go to all who were nominated at the NPA, though special note goes to the following PIC Customers:
  • Richard Carless and team at Pear Tree Farm – Winner NPA Outdoor Producer of the Year
  • Elite Pigs, Nigel and Gill Spalding (BQP) – Winner NPA Outdoor Herd Productivity Award
  • Richard and Maggie Lane (BQP) – Runner up in above
NPA nominee Thomas Wright needs mention as over 21 batches of nursery to finisher pigs for BQP he achieved figures of 886g DLWG, 2.16 FCR and 1.61% mortality. Truly outstanding!
The BQP Farmer Awards night demonstrated, as always, exceptional performance from a “High Welfare” outdoor system. While many farms combine to make up to this Globally significant operation it was clear to see the closely aligned local collaboration, co-ordination and team approach which drives this business. With multiple categories from the Organic and Free Range Award through to the Next Generation Award we would like to congratulate all the nominees and the winners who are pictured below.

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