James runs the family farm alongside his Mum and Dad in Norfolk. Historically running a arable and cattle enterprise. In 2020 he decided to convert an existing cattle building into a modern pigs shed.
James left school at 16 and went to Easton college at the same time coming back to the family farm and in 2018 decided to diversify, one of the reasons for this was the introduction of TB rule 1 and 4 making it more difficult to keep the farm full all the time, also around that time it also became more expensive to finish cattle.
Grandad said “never put all eggs in one basket spread the risk” which is advise James has taken in the decision to go into B&B pigs.
Getting planning for a new shed was difficult meaning that we decided to convert one of the existing cattle sheds, however we now regret not getting planning to build a new shed as well.
The aim of starting the pig enterprise was stable income which means that the farms viability is secured. The pig enterprise spreads risk and spreads day to day workload.
We called BQP and Mark Jagger came around and drew up a unit plan that allowed us to hold 800 pigs he also put us in touch with Quality Equipment who later did the conversion of the existing cattle shed, this took around 4 weeks from start to finish. Within four days of the building being converted pigs were in and we were earning money from the building.
James with his fields person Oliver Havers
The reality of the pig enterprise is that, the day to day workload is not as much as I expected.
The income is the same if not better than was predicted by BQP. With B&B pigs there are no worries about varying pig price because my payment is structured around the performance of the batch of pigs on the farm. I also found my skockman skills were transferable to the pigs from the cattle.
I received a visit from a BQP fields person prior to the arrival of the pigs and he supported me with weekly visits as I learnt the job of becoming a pig man. BQP and the support team are always available, it seems to me to be 365 days a year, 24 hrs a day. The service and advise they give me is invaluable, nothing seems to be to much trouble.
If the opportunity arose to do more pigs then I would, as I thoroughly enjoy my time with the pigs and they are profitable for us.
My advice for others is if they are family farming and wanting security “I’d recommend going B&B pigs, no brainer” as the pigs offer regular pay and a safe cashflow. The pigs also pay for my hobby which are cattle.