Awarded £5,398 (40% of the total project costs of £13,495) of LEADER funding from Making it Local towards the purchase of a high specification mobile livestock handling system with integrated hydraulic systems gates and pens, electronic weighing system, cattle penning, race and crush. This will lead to more efficient farming practices and increased animal health and welfare.
Daniel Pile purchased the land at Higher Park Farm 40 years ago at the age of 18 and managed the family farm business in partnership with his wife, both working full time on the farm with the assistance of part time employees. The 345 acre farming business is based on a suckler herd of 225 head of cattle and 80 ewes producing approximately 1600 store lambs per year.
In June 2013 Daniel suffered a broken leg in two places caused by being crushed by a cow while in the process of de-horning a calf. This led to research into safer livestock handling systems, for both staff and animals.
The project replaced the current basic static livestock handling system with a more efficient penning, race and crush that incorporates an electronic weighing system and animal restraining system. This provided improvements in efficiency of livestock handling and a safer system that improves the standard of animal health and welfare, and provides a safer working environment for himself and his family, employees, vets and other contractors who need to attend to the livestock.
The mobile handling unit will also improve the efficiency of the farm business by facilitating improved monitoring and management of livestock weight gain and food conversion ratios with the aim of meeting the improved carcass specification required by the market. This would provide the opportunity of finishing young stock on farm at an earlier age thereby improving profit potential and reducing carbon emissions.