Salt Lake Bacon does it well.

slb2Salt Lake Bacon owners Butch and Kerryn Moses along with their staff have grown their piggery steadily over the years into a modern and productive 2-site unit of 560 sows in South Australia’s mid-north region.

Butch and Kerryn took over in 2000 when the piggery was 280 sows with generally poor infrastructure. The old farrowing rooms were fairly ordinary and weren’t performing so they decided to fit-out one of the rooms with new Mundigo crates as an experiment. Over several batches they noticed improvements in farrowing numbers so the viability of replacing all of the crates became apparent. They could either replace all the existing crates or build a new farrowing shed and expand. Kerryn and Butch decided to build a new 96 crate evap-cooled farrowing shed to the most modern standards which was completed in 2006. The shed was designed by Mundigo and just  after completion the shed was the site for an opening ceremony with about 50 invited guests. It was over 40 degrees outside but inside was cool and the best place to enjoy great BBQ pork and cold drinks.

It quickly became evident that the new farrowing shed was a worthy investment. There was a 2 pig-per-litter improvement at weaning and the weaners were heavier. Sows were in better condition at mating and the improvements went on from there. This was all helped by good farrowing shed management by Alison, and notably the ease of working in the new facilities.

After the farrowing shed was commissioned, Salt Lake Bacon became a Top Pork member and has used Myora genetics ever since.

The new farrowing shed caused the weaner output to double so Butch and Kerryn took on several contract growers, providing a stepping stone for expansion plans. Then they made plans to build a new mating shed and once again got Mundigo to draw the plans and supply the equipment. The existing sow areas were re-modelled to meet new welfare requirements and changing management conditions.

The final piece of the puzzle was to bring all of the growers and finishers home and regain control of the production process. The project to build 10 new shelters on their grower site (6km from the breeder site) was finished in 2012.

After 12 years of hard work developing and expanding the piggery, Butch and Kerryn thought they could “put their feet up” from building and focus on fine-tuning production. But this caused a hitch when they realised they could better manage the grower/finisher herd if they built a new presale shed to give them more flexibility to deal with slower growing pigs. It could also give them the ability to not mix groups of finishers and thin-out numbers in the shelters towards the end. Pigs were weighed at various stages to monitor production on the grower site and penalties applied for heavy or light pigs in their market. The grower site manager Anthony had played a large role in the success of the operation which made the decision to build much easier.

So in July 2013 Mundigo started work building a new grower shed to house 660 finishers. Butch had found some shed trusses from a demolished building in Adelaide and the new shed was designed around them with new RHS columns and Purline insulated roof cladding. Mundigo’s Richard Boshoff project managed the construction and the final result was pleasing.

Salt Lake Bacon now sells 95% of finishers before 20 weeks and the remaining lucky pigs stay for a short time in the new grower shed with automatic natural ventilation, spray cooling and Big Wheel feeders.

Congratulations to Butch, Kerryn and their great team of staff on running such an impressive operation. It’s encouraging to see people being rewarded for hard work and persistence, and they deserve to be proud of their achievements.

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