Being part of the North-East Pig Monitor Farm Programme has brought huge successes for Aberdeenshire farmer Patrick Stephen. Over the last four years, the farm has made significant changes in key areas that have impacted on business profitability and sustainability by trialling new practices and technology.

The Pig Monitor Farm Programme is funded 50:50 by Opportunity North East (ONE) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). The aim is to help improve the profitability, productivity and sustainability of pig producers through practical demonstrations, the sharing of best practice and the discussion of up-to-date issues.

Mr Stephen’s unit is run by manager Wayne Ducker, and a staff of four people on the 900-acre farm. Patrick also has a commercial herd of 530 sows housed on straw and runs JSR females with a Danbred terminal sire.

The finished pigs are sold through Scottish Pig Producers marketing group to Quality Pork Processors (QPP) at Brechin or Woodhead Brothers.

Since the start of the project, Mr Stephen’s unit has made improvements in most of the key production parameters, with the unit now seeing an increase of 20% in pig-meat sold per sow.

Mr Stephen explained: "Being a monitor farm has pushed us to improve the business and has helped put the business in good stead for the future. We have become more efficient by improving management practices and are regularly investing in new buildings, for example, an environmentally controlled 1800 place weaner shed and a 1600 space grower/finisher shed to improve feed conversion and growth rates.”

To read more about Mr Stephen’s Monitor Farm experience and the on-farm improvements he’s made, visit



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