Twelve first year students in Practical Group D selected two pigs which were entered into different classes for the best pork carcase. They were particularly successful with a Large White Cross gilt, which came third out of 15 in a class hotly contested by professional producers.
To make their selection, the students had to choose two from around 150 pigs in our Stage 2 finishing house. Advised by Livestock Lecturer Julie Baskerville, they looked at the conformation and general condition of the pigs, then weighed them to make sure that they met the show class criteria.
One of their key missions was to select pigs which would give the best cuts of meat to suit the family table. Satisfyingly, the carcases made a great price at the post-show auction.
Said Julie: “At Reaseheath we concentrate on giving our students relevant experience which will help them in their future careers. This was a good lesson on the production of commercially viable pigs and we were delighted with our success.”
Reaseheath is one of a few land-based colleges to have a commercial pig unit. Run by Pig Unit Manager James Payne, a former Reaseheath agricultural student, our straw based, high welfare unit, which conforms to RSPCA Freedom Foods Standards, has 135 sows, each of which produce two litters annually. We sell about 50 finished pigs weekly and supply our local family butchers, Clewlows of Nantwich, along with other meat retailers.
Top caption: Julie Baskerville is pictured in our pig unit with two of her successful students, Richard Ratcliffe and Brad Walton