05 December 2018
Team effort recognised and total commitment rewarded. That’s how Rattlerow Farms described its scoop of three awards at this year’s National Pig Awards.
The company, its staff and one of its key-partnership business’s all received awards at the gala event, hosted by former British number one tennis player and TV presenter Andrew Castle at London’s Lancaster Hotel.
Rattlerow was voted NPA AIG Member of the year by the UK pig industry – a tribute that Joint Managing Directors Adrian and Robert Lawson were delighted with.
“It’s an honour to receive this award as it’s from the pig industry itself. We were thrilled to be nominated and then make the shortlist, so winning it is a real privilege. It recognises our team spirit and the special relationship we have with our customers and industry,” said Robert.
NPA chairman Richard Lister said Rattlerow had built an enviable reputation for quality and customer service and this award was ‘well-deserved’.
Top prize for top-notch performance
Aberdeenshire producer Brydock Farms, part of Karro Food Group was presented with the evening’s most coveted title, Pig Producer of the Year 2018.
Rattlerow Scotland has an integral role managing the breeding strategy of this outdoor-based business – a collaborative partnership that’s increased output quite dramatically over the past few years.
“The relationship is a fine example of how Rattlerow customers can utilise our genetic expertise, resources and production experience. It helps them maximise the potential available in their herds and optimise performance,” says Simon Guise UK Sales Manager.
The Brydock herd has 18,800 Whiteroc sows and is currently producing 8,000 pigs a week for Karro’s supply chain. Herd productivity is impressive with 28.76 pigs weaned per sow per year, well above the AHDB top 10% average of 23.97. Herd health is exceptional too and a principle objective is to raise all progeny with zero antibiotics in the future. Judges liked Brydock’s innovative approach and how it is embracing new technology outdoors. Herds are now using Aardvark farrowing huts, ad lib feeders and testing ESF systems.
Jamie Brown, who manages the farrowing house at Hill House Farm, Stradbroke was named Stockman of the Year. An exceptional stockman, he is on top of his game and keen to push productivity by learning new skills and improving his own management techniques and protocols. He has managed to reduce piglet mortality from 12.7% down to 5.6% since he joined the team 5 years ago – which impressed the judges.
Jamie likes to keep on top of farm records and statistics and knows exactly how his sows are performing
“You can ask him any time how many pigs he has in each batch and what he expects to wean and he’s always looking at where he can make improvements,” says Adrian Scarfe, production manager.
The commercial, 600-sow herd produces 35kg weaners and is currently rearing 30.5 pigs /sow/year with average weight at weaning of 7.5kg. Jamie’s skills and dedication have helped raise numbers reared by 0.5 pigs/sow, equating to around 700 more pigs per year.
Nathan Howard, stockman and service specialist at Rattlerow’s dedicated gilt rearing and mating unit at Mundford, Norfolk, also received a highly commended. He has worked at Mundford for 4 years and his proficiency and attention to detail has consistently achieved exceptional conception rates (93%). Nathan was shortlisted for Trainee of the Year, too.
“All of these awards reflect the diversity of Rattlerow’s business, its dedication to UK pig production and its commitment to cross-industry collaboration. It’s terrific to have been recognised by our industry at so many different levels,” said Robert Lawson.
Cornish pig business the Primrose Herd was named Producer Retailer of the Year, an award sponsored by Rattlerow Farms. Owned and managed by the Lugg family, the 25-sows free-range herd uses traditional breeds and finishes all of its progeny. New accommodation is helping Primrose improve productivity and meet the increasing demand for its products at local, regional and national level. The business began in 1999 and now offers a wide selection of home-produced fresh pork and cured products prepared in its butchery and sold at independent outlets, farmers markets and via its website.