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Scottish pig farmer invests £50,000 in finishing house

With confidence returning to the Scottish pig industry, an Aberdeenshire pig farmer has invested £50,000 in new solid-floored straw-based finishing house to produce 1,000 plus pigs a year at Kingshornie, Inverbervie.

 Both the slats and the roof of an old existing house were giving problems so Alan Irvine, who farms 75 ha (185 acres) with his parents, and runs a 125-sow breeding herd, decided to replace it with the help of a 40 per cent grant under the Scotland Rural Development Scheme.
With the farm being situated in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) he didn’t wish to continue with a slurry system so opted for a straw-based building from ARM Building’s Trobridge range. Having a solid-floored system meant that he could use straw from the farm’s barley crop and store the muck in a field midden before spreading on stubble.
A row of 12, 2.5m x 4.88 (8 ft x 15 ft) mono-pitch open-fronted pens, each holding 18 pigs from 60 kg to finish, was constructed with a 2.5m x 2.5 m(8 ft x 8 ft) outside dunging passage.  Contrary to expectations this system is not more labour-intensive than the slatted one, taking just 1½ hours a week to muck out with a tractor and scraper.
Open-fronted pens are probably associated more with the southern part of the UK than the north of Scotland, but Alan checked out a similar one on a farm in Fife, having spoken to ARM at the Royal Highland Show.  The dunging passage is roofed over and ventilation flaps are opened automatically via a Dicam control unit.
The house is situated on and east-west axis and Alan fitted a Galebreaker roller door to the west side of the dung passage.  The building is fully insulated and sheltered by other buildings.

Editor PigProgress

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