Cennydd Owen Jones - Menter Moch Cymru & the Wales YFC pig finishing initiative

Background
Cennydd Owen Jones lives on the 130 acre family dairy farm near Pontsian, Ceredigon where 70 cows are milked. After graduating with a BSc in Animal Science at Aberystwyth University he studied  for an MSc in Livestock Science, which was awarded in 2017.
It was whilst working as a commentator for the pig classes at the RWAS Winter Fair, Spring Festival and Summer Show that Cennydd’s interest in pigs began. Talking to pig producers, judges and butchers increased his knowledge of the pig sector in Wales and gave him the idea of introducing pigs onto the farm.
The Menter Moch Cymru & Wales YFC pig finishing competition gave Cennydd the opportunity to start pig keeping with the assurance that the support and guidance needed as a first-time pig keeper was available.
 
Menter Moch Cymru & the Wales YFC pig finishing initiative

"I am very grateful for this fantastic opportunity that has not only enabled me to get quality pigs from a quality herd, but also to be able to attend events with Menter Moch Cymru, and to learn more about pig husbandry, the industry in Wales, and the challenges and opportunities that the industry will face in the near future."
 
As one of the 4 winners of the competition Cennydd opted to keep Welsh pigs and 5 weaners were sourced for him from a local breeder.
The breed selection was based on the capability of this native breed to compete with the continental breeds in terms of carcass weight, efficient feeding and weight gain, and with other traditional breeds with regards to taste and outdoor performance.
The piglets were 9 weeks old on arrival and were reared inside in a straw yard.
To equip the young first time pig keepers with the basic knowledge required to handle and rear their piglets, a trip to Harper Adams University was arranged by Menter Moch Cymru (MMC). The Harper livestock unit manager, Richard Hooper, gave the competition winners an intensive training day which included practical handling skills, biosecurity and management advice.
 
Diet
Initially Cennydd’s piglets were fed a 20% protein, 1.39% lysine grower pellet on an ad lib basis which cost £330/tonne. Following mentoring from MMC staff and the attendance at a pig nutrition meeting hosted jointly by MMC and Farming Connect the diet was changed. The new diet replaced the grower pellets with a mineralised mix of ground wheat and barley sourced from a local farmer with waste cheese used for the protein component. The protein level of the new diet was 18% protein, 1.1% lysine and the cost was £185/tonne. The cheese was a waste stream sourced free from the factory that buys the milk produced on the farm.
The growing pigs were weighed on a regular basis and when they reached 60kg they were changed from ad lib to a restricted feeding regime of 2kg/pig/day.
 
Live Weight Gain of Pigs
The pigs responded well to the management system and reached an average daily live weight gain of 0.93kg/day towards the end of the finishing period. Three of the pigs finished at between 95 -100 kg live weight at 5 months of age.
Because the pigs were growing so quickly and in order to have an entry for the MMC & Wales YFC carcass competition at the RWAS Winter Fair Cennydd decided to change the management. The remaining 2 pigs were transferred to an outdoor rearing regime on a reduced protein diet that did not provide for rapid growth and reduced the daily live weight gain. The carcass produced for the competition weighed 80kg.
 
Costings
·        Rearing only costs was £55/pig
·        The total cost for rearing, slaughter and butchery was £130/pig
·        The enterprise profit was £100 per pig
·        Had the £50 cost of the weaners been included the profit would have been £50/pig
·        The pork was sold by direct sales for £6/kg
 
Future plans
Cennydd intends to integrate a small pig unit into the farm, keeping a group of weaners through to finishing on an outdoor system on fields that are planned for reseeding. This will help bring extra cash flow to the business, whilst introducing organic matter and nutrients into the soil.
The feeding in the future will not use the expensive grower pellets but will consist entirely of the wheat/barley mix and waste cheese. Although the period from weaning to finishing may increase slightly the financial saving of £145/tonne for the ration would out-weigh the added time that the pigs might take to finish.
Cennydd intends to sell all the meat from his pigs through direct sales in the future. He has attended the MMC sausage making and bacon curing course at Food Centre Wales, Horeb and believes that adding value to the pork is the way to maximise the profit from a pig enterprise on the farm.
 
“As someone from a non-pig keeping background, the support and mentoring from Menter Moch Cymru was outstanding. I have learnt a lot and have made valuable links in the pig sector.”
 

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