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My aim is to have production costs as low as anyone in Europe. Using Epizym is central to achieving this on my farm

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John Gray
Wellhouse Farm, Essex
Pig Farmer, 18,000 pigs

What prompted you to use Epizym?

We put in some totally slatted accommodation in 1992-3. By 1994 flies had become a problem and when the neighbours started to complain I knew something had to be done. I saw an advert in a Pig World magazine, called the number and spoke to Giles Dadd.

What happened next?

Giles came to see me on the farm and we developed a programme to treat the slurry. I followed his advice and as we introduced new batches of pigs, the slurry tanks underneath were treated with Epizym. I then treated the tanks regularly, topping up the dose each time any slurry was drawn off. 

I was delighted to see that the crust didn’t re-form. I was left with a consistent, liquid slurry, which, when it came to emptying the tanks, ran through the channels and didn’t cause blockages. I now use a boom irrigator to apply the slurry more accurately on the land. The nozzle is far narrower than before and so a consistent mixture is very important.

I decided to use Epizym on my second unit where the slurry is separated and the liquid runs via a ditch into two 10 million gallon reservoirs I use to irrigate the arable land. I’ve got 35 acres of surface water here at the farm and the programme delivered a drastic improvement in my reservoir situation, to the extent that the wild birds have returned to the water – something I was told would never happen. 

More recently I’ve focused on maximising pig yield. I was advised to install a completely slatted system into my weaner house to keep the pigs clean all the time to improve their environment and thus reduce the mortality rate. As the Epizym made me feel confident I could deal with the slurry, I went ahead and installed the fully slatted system and it’s worked. My cost of production is going down as I lose fewer pigs to disease. An added benefit is that I don’t have to ask my men to work in straw and dust and faeces. They’re also delighted not to have 8,000 tons of muck to spread each year, saving on labour costs.

I make sure I always re-apply every six weeks to keep on top of it. My wife always lets me know when to do it as she notices the flies start to come back again. We have a conservatory which, based on bitter past experience, would be black with flies if we didn’t use Epizym. 

How much money have you saved?

“Since 1996 I’ve made a saving of about £6,000 a year on bagged nitrogen alone. We quantified the nitrogen value on the arable crops. Originally it was 20 units per acre inch but after treatment with Epizym that went to 30 units per acre inch. 

In addition, I save the £1500 I would need to put by annually for contractors to come every five years to dredge out the accumulated sludge. As the Epizym gave me the confidence to go ‘all slurry’ in my new fattening sheds, this saved me about £6 for every pig. Of course, some things are hard to quantify, such as the improvement in growth of the crops.

John Gray’s Annual Savings

Saving on bought in fertiliser £12,000
Contractor costs £2,500
Going all slurry - 18,000 pigs @ £6 £108,000
LESS cost of Slurry King Pigs -£2,800
TOTAL saving £119,700

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