State-of-the-art ‘all under one roof’ pig unit designed by Finrone Systems is opened by rural affairs secretary Lesley Griffiths at Glynllifon College

Welsh rural affairs secretary Lesley Griffiths attended Glynllifon campus to officially open the state-of-the-art pig facility designed and constructed by Finrone Systems.

The ‘all under one roof’ project is one of the first of its kind in the UK and uses the most up-to-date methods of pig husbandry such as an automatic feeding system from ERRA and room-by room climate control from CTI Control. The new facility allows variables to be controlled for each stage of rearing, from birth to weaning, fattening and finishing.

The new building situated near Caernarfon will house around 50 sows, with Welsh Pigs constituting half the herd. These will be compared against Rattlerow Landroc hybrids to assess their commercial merit, develop their genetics and improve rearing methods. Corwen butchers GR Evans will continue to take Glynllifon pigmeat and in the future the college may examine branding options to add value to the pork it produces.

“The new facility is much more efficient. It’s insulated and ventilated, so we can control the temperatures in each room to keep the pigs warm in winter and cool in summer.”

Glynllifon farm manager Rhodri Owen said the new unit was a vast improvement on its predecessor and would produce substantial efficiencies.

He said: “The old unit was inefficient, expensive and labour intensive, as we had little control over the production environment – often it was a case of throwing in a bit of extra straw over the winter.

“The new facility is much more efficient. It’s insulated and ventilated, so we can control the temperatures in each room to keep the pigs warm in winter and cool in summer.

“Feed is the most expensive element of pig production and in the new unit we’ll have full control over its delivery via a chain and link system, which distributes food straight from the feed bin to the hoppers.

“The flooring is slated, so that slurry can be collected in tanks and used for first-cut silage to reduce fertliser costs.”

The facility joins other new additions at Fferm Glynllifon, the college farm, such as the innovative Cattle Roundhouse and the modern Bloc Llifon teaching building.

Observation bays within the pig unit allow students to view the animals at each stage in a biosecure environment.

Mrs Griffiths, who was quite taken by the piglets during her visit, was impressed. “This £500,000 unit is not only an investment in a new state-of-the-art livestock housing facility, but also a vote of confidence in the students at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor. “I understand it has already created substantial interest within the pork industry,” she said.

“we have delivered a building that is innovative throughout. From the materials to the latest technologies and solutions incorporated, the facility at Glynllifon is unique and will be of great interest to those in the pig sector and new and existing students alike.”

Sales and Project Manager at Finrone Systems, Joe Neely, worked closely with the college to design a building that used leading materials, equipment and new technologies from Finrone’s global network of contacts and suppliers.

Joe said, “Finrone Systems have been delighted to have been involved with the college on this project. From our initial design concepts, we have delivered a building that suits the needs of the college and is innovative throughout. From the materials to the latest technologies and solutions incorporated, the facility at Glynllifon is unique and will be of great interest to those in the pig sector and new and existing students alike.”

“Finrone’s network of leading suppliers of pig products and equipment have enabled us to offer the latest technology available on the market for this project. Products such as ERRA’s automatic dry sow feeder and CTI ventilation solutions are UK firsts. The open day at the college will be the first time these products will have been seen in use within the UK,” he said.

Farming Connect open day

As Glynllifon’s pig unit was conceived as a resource for the wider farming industry, it will host open events and training activities.

The first of these is Farming Connect’s “Productive Pigs” open day on Thursday, November 24, 11am-3pm.

Visitors will be able to inspect the state-of-the-art facilities and learn more about improving pig performance and productivity.

Speakers include veterinary pig specialist Bob Stevenson, who will discuss bio-security and disease prevention, and David Moorhouse, an ADAS pig expert, who will look at production efficiencies and opportunities for new entrants.

New Farming Connect projects at Glynllifon will also be highlighted, specifically the benefits of performance recording pigs to aid management decisions.

Visitors must wear clean clothing and, to help biosecurity, they will be given disposable coveralls and shoe covers.

• Details: Gwawr Llewelyn Hughes, 07896 996841 or gwawr.hughes@menterabusnes.co.uk.