East Riding Country Pork Butcher
Cooked pork and apple burgers
Family Farming
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East Riding Country Pork Hand of corn

On the Farm

The farm is situated  in the East Riding of Yorkshire. We have a diverse farm which includes arable farmland, 1000 sow, high hygiene pig farm, renewable enterprise and of course our farm shop.

Arable Farm

We are the guardians of 600 acres of land.  Most of what we grow on the land is fed to our pigs and so it is a very important part of our farming business.  We grow wheat, barley, spring barley and oil seed rape all of which are audited to the  Red Tractor Assurance standards.

The arable farming calendar

Crops are harvested once a year and stored to feed to the pigs when required. We plant most of our crops in late September and October and our spring crops are planted in April.  Harvest time is in August and September, when it is all systems go to get the harvest whilst the weather is sunny and dry.  We farm not too far away from the sea so our harvesting days are very short, when the wind blows from the sea we can get a sea mist which dampens the crop and so we cannot harvest it.  This micro climate is a challenge for farmers in East Yorkshire, the weatherman is often wrong and travel 5 miles down the road and have lovely sunny weather when our farm is under fog and mist.

Improving our soils

Healthy soil structure is important for the future of farming.  We put all of our straw back onto the fields as either manure or chopping it behind the combine at harvest, the aim is to put nutrients into the soil as well as creating the perfect environment for worms as worms naturally air the soils.  We farm heavy clay soils and therefore we need to closely monitor the weather when we are looking at working the fields or planting them.  Ground compaction can damage the soil structure so we have low floatation tyres on the trailers and tri-axel trailers to spread the weight of the load and tractors with tracks rather than wheels (we ski across the land rather than walk across in stilettos!).

Farmland Wildlife

Skylarks, curlews, owls, buzzards, pheasant, field mice, hares, deer, fox, hedgehog are all an abundance in our fields.  The best time to spot them is during a quiet picnic in a field corner.  We leave at least  5% of our land unfarmed as wildlife habitat.  Owl boxes and hedgerows create fantastic nesting areas too.  We have a lot of hedgerows and manage these voluntarily for the benefit of both wildlife and the local community.  We do not cut hedgerows between the months of April to October to avoid bird nesting periods,  it is important to cut hedges and grass verges for road safety, because we have such a large population of deer they can be a danger to road users.  Wetland areas are left unfarmed for the deer to use as watering areas with the aim of keeping them away from roads.

Protecting Water

Our land is drained into ditches and dykes through a drainage system that was put in over 40 years ago.  We would not be able to farm the land without this drainage network.  It is important that we monitor what we put onto the land and the water that flows off our land. We annually test our soil for nutrients so that we can highlight areas that require more or less.  We then test our pig muck for nutrients and spread this onto the land when required.  We do not put muck onto the land between the months of December to February.  We store all of our pig muck until spring when the crops are growing and require the nutrients to grow.  This prevents run-off into the water courses.  We choose the crop varieties very carefully so that they are resistant to disease, depending on the weather we sometimes have to spray the crops to prevent weeds and disease.  Sprays are used very carefully as they are very expensive and only put on when necessary, we leave a large area around watercourses without spray as to not pollute the water.

Pig Farm

Animal Welfare

Our farm has been Red Tractor Assured since 1999, our pigs are inspected at least every quarter by a vet to make sure they are healthy and have the ability to express their Five Freedoms.  We are also audited by the Red Tractor Scheme at least annually.  The Environment Agency, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, DEFRA animal health teams and supermarkets also audit our farm on an annual basis.

Antibiotic Use

We love pigs and do not want them to be sick so we vaccinate and give antibiotics where required.  We do actively try and reduce antibiotics we administer and all medication is given by prescription from the vets and recorded.  Pigs are like children and can easily pick up colds and flu when they are young, once they have built up immunity to colds they become strong and healthy.  Good basic pig husbandry is important to keeping healthy pigs so firstly we make sure housing is kept clean (which is relatively easy to do with the hygiene plus system), drinking water is monitored and kept at the correct ph and we try not pass bugs from one group of pigs to another by using foot dips and changing gloves.  If we see some poorly pigs we treat them in the water or give individual injections.  We also vaccinate against some colds.

Genetics

Our female breeding pigs are about the size of a medium sized pony.  They are BIG and they eat ALOT, all our home grown food of course!  We mix two breeds of pig a large white and a landrace and this makes them excellent mothers with lots of milk.  Our male pig, the boar, is the Hampshire breed with the RN- gene which is proven to make the tastiest Pork on supermarket shelves.

Pig Health & Hygiene

Our pig production method is a Hygiene Plus Indoor pig keeping.  This means that our pigs live in a clean healthy environment away from predators, pests and the elements of the changeable British weather which can cause depression and increase mortality in pigs.  Our breeding pigs are housed indoors on straw and our growing pigs are housed on the hygiene plus system to reduce the need for antibiotics and salmonella risks.  The pig houses are deep cleaned every 4 weeks with detergent and disinfectant, some may say cleaner than an NHS hospital!

Our specialist maternity ward is monitored 24 hours a day, mother and baby pigs are looked after on a one to one basis offering the best care whilst giving birth and rearing their young.  Heat lamps keep piglets warm and shredded paper is used as a toy for them to eat and play with as well has having the added benefit of keeping them dry and warm.  Our specialist medicine trolley is bespoke to the pig industry, we do not inject any of our piglets, all iron and pre-wean husbandry is carried out using air instead of injections.  Piglets always have access to their mothers milk, we also offer fresh water and a specialist piglet feed to help them grow big and strong. Piglets are weaned from their mother at 4 weeks old.

Once weaned from their mothers the piglets are kept with their brothers and sisters and moved into a specialist nursery. They have toys to play with and are kept on the same food they have got used to eating with their mothers.  We gradually change their diet onto our own bespoke milk rich feed, produced on our farm.  The piglets now 4 weeks old have lots of space to run around and play, often they all snuggle up together at night.  If there were any problems at night an alarm is sent to our mobile phones for us to investigate.

After 3 weeks its time for our pigs to go to school, they move to new homes that have been cleaned down and washed, always staying with their brothers and sisters.  These new homes are a little bigger with more space as they are fast growing.  Here we closely monitor their water to keep it at an optimum 3.6-3.8ph they can drink and eat as much as they like without any restrictions.  They have toys here too and plenty of room to play with each other and relax.

At 12 weeks old pigs are about the size of a Labrador dog and can be very cheeky and destructive so we move them to accommodation that is a little more robust. If you were to faint in a pen they could eat you alive so it is important our employees are safe at all times.  Their new homes mean that they are in 17’s, so they are less likely to bully each other, they have a lot more access to food and water, and they now have another new toy to play with.  Lighting timers are set so that they enjoy a day time and night time whilst its -6degrees outside our pigs are all cuddled up nice and warm.

Our pigs leave us at around 22 weeks old when they are the size of a small pony, having had a happy and content life.

From field to fork

We are pleased to provide customers with a real “field to fork” experience.

If you would like to learn more about our farm why not book a tour on our Pork Sausage Experience: Book a Tour

‘“An enjoyable and very interesting evening, first time visitor and definatly not the last!”’

Sarah Cullen