A pioneering Norfolk pig farmer has been hailed among the country's elite after winning a national Farm Manager of the Year title.

Rob McGregor is unit manager for LSB Pigs, a 1,450-sow outdoor unit based at East Rudham near Fakenham.

He was presented with his trophy at the Farmers Weekly awards in front of a packed audience of farmers and industry representatives at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Awards judges described him as a "true leader in the pig sector", whose influence has improved animal welfare and efficiency far beyond the two outdoor herds he manages in Norfolk.

His eight-strong team rears weaner pigs for BQP, which in turn supplies pork to Waitrose and premium ranges at other retailers and food manufacturers.

Mr McGregor said: "The UK pig industry is going through tough times at the moment. Keeping positive is difficult for all involved right now. However it's always nice to receive recognition for what we do and love on a daily basis.

"Although this award is very much a personal one it is also very much the result of an enormous team effort I receive from our farm staff, my employer and the solid support we get from BQP Pilgrims and the wider pig industry.

"None of what I have achieved would be possible without them.

"At these times it's also important to remember the farmers who inspired me to follow my chosen career path many years ago into agriculture, teaching me the importance of a strong work ethic, attention to detail and fairness to all.

"It's just a shame so many are no longer with us to witness my achievement which they all deserve a piece of."

Judges said Mr McGregor is on a "constant mission to improve" – pioneering new production methods including the introduction of individual farrowing paddocks and new artificial insemination techniques. Several of these have become industry-changing innovations.

Products adopted throughout the country and overseas include heat-reflective coatings for steel pig housing and containerised clean water tanks which have reduced wastage and improved the health and performance of animals.