BPEX blog

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Electronic sow feeders outdoors help reduce feed waste

Electronic sow feeders (ESF) for outdoor sows are helping to reduce feed waste in an on-farm trial by LKL Farming, using a BPEX Innovation Fund grant.

Feed savings have been calculated at about £15 per sow per year, with cost savings from increased sow productivity to be calculated next.

We set up the project to see if it would reduce competition between sows and feed them according to their body condition, as well as making more efficient use of feed and reducing vermin.

After some initial difficulty with unreliable wireless, the unit staff are now confident using the feeders and have a system for training both sows and gilts which takes about four days.
Go to www.bpex.org.uk/events/conferences/producer for more information in a presentation by production manager Malcolm Knowles.

The Innovation Fund grants mean pig producers can share the risk of investing in new or unproven technology or equipment, with BPEX offering up to 50% funding to producers to try out new and innovative ideas and share the pros and cons with fellow producers. Contact your regional knowledge transfer manager for more information.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Toolkit to retain good staff

BPEX is working with pig producers to help retain good staff; it has produced a Human Resources Toolkit to help unit managers provide staff with more support and a structure for their continuous development and training.

The toolkit contains an induction manual template to help integrate new starters into the business and a ‘skills matrix’ to help keep track of staff skills and identify where more training is needed.

There is also an annual appraisal form template which managers can use if they want to introduce an annual appraisal system. It provides managers and staff with a structure for their discussion, including how the employee feels the last 12 months have gone, their achievements, any issues that have arisen, objectives for the coming year and what additional help or training they may need. Managers can tailor all three documents to their specific units.

Managing staff development is a key part of unit management and motivates the whole team to make a positive impact on pig productivity. Producers need people who want to contribute to the business and stay in the industry for a long-term career.

The toolkit is a practical step in the pig industry’s new skills strategy, Recruit, Retain, Reward.