Video: Hyde Park’s ‘fully integrated’ pig enterprise

Sean and Darren Brady run a 700-sow unit at Hyde Park Pig Farm in Killucan, Co. Westmeath. The enterprise is “fully integrated from start to finish”.

Speaking to AgriLand, Darren explained: “Sows are farrowing here every day of the year; 365 days of the year.

“We keep them in the farrowing house for four weeks then the pigs move to first stage weaners for another four and finally, they go into the finisher houses for 12 weeks then.”

He explained that pigs are weaned on a Thursday and the sows are served on the following Monday.

Commenting on the genetics used on the farm, Darren noted that the pigs’ genetics have “improved big time over the past few years”.

We’re running a Danish Duroc mixed breed, and the performance is picking up. Every week you can see a difference in the Food Conversion Ratios for the finishers.

The Brady’s run a liquid feed system for all the sows. Everything else from first stage weaners onwards is fed using a dry-feed system.

“We get good performance from the dry feed. Its a very simple system,” Darren explained.

Price

Commenting on pig price, the midlands pig farmer noted: “We’re just coming off the back of a very tough 18 months. We were hit with a lower pig price and then also with last year’s high increase in meal.”

Meal is over 70% of the cost here on the Brady’s unit and Darren outlined that “any increase in price has a big effect on the bottom line”.

He explained that during the hig feed prices, the farm opted to increase maize levels in the feed. Darred explained this was because Maize was “a cheaper option” than some of the other straights.

We were working below the cost of production. We were getting less for the pigs than what it is costing us to produce them.

However, Darren expressed his optimism that prices will continue to follow the recent upward trend. “The outlook is looking positive for this year anyway. Things are looking up, he remarked.

He added that this is because of the recent outbreak of African Swine Fever in Asis and as a result, “a lot of their herd is after being culled”.

Darren stressed emphasis that Irish pig farmers place on bio security. He said: “It is crucially important to have high bio security protocols in place and to keep disease out.  We just have to limit who we let onto the unit. ”

Imported produce on shelves

Darren expressed his disappointment at some Irish retailers when it emerged that they were selling imported pork and bacon products.

It was difficult to take. After working very hard for such a small return over the past 18 months and then to see meat coming in very cheap and being sold on Irish shelves.

Concluding, he expressed his confidence in the Bord Bia logo saying “it works” and praised the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) for its work in lobbying for Irish pig farmers.