BQP hopes to grow Yorkshire farming profits

Farmers looking to grow their business are being given the chance to diversify into pigs for a regular income stream.

The increased demand for high welfare pork could be good news for farmers.

BQP has been in the pig finishing business in the United Kingdom for more than 40 years, and due to continued growth the company is looking for Yorkshire farmers with existing sheds, or space to build pig buildings, to join its pig production partners.

BQP offers full support through setting up and getting started with pigs through their team of vets and field staff, so experience with pigs is not essential.

“We regularly take farmers with no or little knowledge of pigs and train them accordingly,’’ BQP Fieldsman Mark Jagger said.

Conversions of an existing building to a modern piggery can take less than a couple of months.

“Our field staff find this one of the most fulfilling parts of their jobs. We have built, with our farming partners, over 150 new units and all have been very successful additions to the farm.

“We are backed by the main agricultural banks and we are the only pig business to offer long-term contracts up to 13 batches.’’

Because of increased consumer demand for high welfare pork on our dinner plates in the UK, BQP is looking to dramatically increase pig places.

“This year we are looking for in excess of 60,000 pig places,’’ Mr Jagger said. “That’s probably not possible to achieve. The best BQP has achieved is 30,000 in one year.’’

BQP started in 1978 and their dedication to the pigs welfare and that of their farmers is next to none.

There are more than just financial benefits on offer for farmers.

“On a 1000 place piggery, annual turnover is expected to be in the region of or above £42,000 per annum,’’ Mr Jagger said. “Often the unit achieves more but BQP base the cash flow on the bottom earning bracket of the contract.

“Farmers tell me 50 percent is left after servicing the mortgage, straw costs, water, electric and labour.”

BQP provides the pigs, feed, assurance scheme payment, fallen stock costs, veterinary costs (with its own in-house team of vets), Field staff advisors, and sundries.  

“Potentially there are hidden benefits for the farmers of having pigs on the farm,’’ Mr Jagger said.

“There’s regular income through the fact the payment is once every four weeks. There’s also good quality farm yard manure produced. On a 1000-place piggery they require 120 tonnes of straw, producing 700 tonnes of stackable muck high in P and K’’

Mr Jagger says that planning permission for a 1000-place piggery can take as little as 28 days.

“Bigger placings – say 2000 plus – require full planning which usually takes a year,’’ he said.

“Conversions of an existing building can take less than a couple of months.’’

“In a new build of a 1000 places we usually expect the labour requirement not to exceed an average of two hours per day after the first batch.

“The work varies as the batch progresses, as differing jobs need to be done with the pigs.”

Mr Jagger says that the UK is importing pork to meet demand.

“In the UK, we are only 50 percent self-sufficient when it comes to high welfare pork. The rest is imported in mainly from Europe. There is also a growing market in the USA for high welfare low antibiotic pork.”

BQP is a fully integrated farming processing business. It owns all its stock from the nucleus herds through to growing pigs. The business started in 1978 as J. Bibby Agriculture and in some cases three generations of the same farming family have been contracting to the company.

“All of the field staff have worked within the pig industry all their working lives,’’ Mr Jagger said. “Their dedication to the pigs’ welfare and that of their farmers is next to none.’’

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