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Resurgence in pig housing investment

Strong signs are emerging that pig farmers are investing to ‘future-proof’ their units, according to a national housing manufacturer.

“After long periods of losses, when many have left the industry, we are receiving an upsurge in serious enquiries for both new and refurbishment projects,” said Paul Marland, sales director of Staffordshire-based ARM Buildings.

In particular, producers have been looking at installing freedom-style farrowing houses. While several have updated their finishing accommodation, many farrowing houses are old and tired, having had no investment for 20 years. Litters are certainly larger than two decades ago and sows tend to be larger, too, so this has put pressure on the fabric of these buildings, he says. The freedom-style pens provide more space, in addition to other benefits.

Since fewer pens can be accommodated when converting existing buildings to this system, it often means an further house has to be added to cope with the same number of farrowings. There has also been interest in new weaner-grower buildings.

“It is encouraging that producers have sufficient confidence to invest, despite the problems they have encountered,” said Mr Marland.  “High welfare systems are obviously going to be increasingly important in the future.”