When politics and football fall flat, we can always rely on the price of pigs to spark heated debate!

Dennis Bridgeford is based near Easter Ross in Scotland’s Highland region and operates an indoor herd of 550 sows rearing lighter weight finishers of 75kg

Pigs, politics and football have always been a source of discussion in the Bridgeford household. My father always loved a good going argument!

Sadly, the politics have now all but been dismissed out of sheer disgust with the proceedings over the last few years. Self-interest has been uppermost in most politicians’ minds, with ‘what’s good for the country’ being forgotten.

I used to trail round the hustings on a two-man crusade with my mate Mike, who was also our vet, giving them what for from the back of the hall. I remember one night we were the only two and still managed to get a good argument up. Sadly, those halcyon days are gone – Mike has moved to pastures new and I have got disillusioned with the lot of them.

Saying that, the Scottish vote will have a huge bearing on who takes over in Number 10. Some would say we hold more power than the size of the population – the important part is how we use it!

The football bit is still of great interest – maybe the national team are struggling a bit, and our neighbours south of Hadrian’s wall are batting above their average. But locally, as I write, my local team (Brora Rangers) are sitting top of the pile, playing well. Hopefully, this is not the kiss of death!

As for pigs, the changes we made in the service area are bearing fruit. Moving the weaning to a Thursday, adding extra feeders in the service area and more powerful lighting, along with feeding the sows three times per day sooner after farrowing have all played their part.

As I touch wood, we have had a few weeks of 100% conception, but I will settle for anything in the 90s. What I have noticed with earlier three-time feeding is the amount of creep feed we are getting the piglets to eat, which is a real bonus.

Are the pundits and commentators going to be proved wrong on pig prices as we reach the end of the year? The week the SPP reduced was a head scratcher. Sadly, the excuse given that a few batches of pigs were well ‘out with the spec’ took some believing.

Yet again, it proves that the SPP calculation is seriously flawed and highlights that all pigs should be used in the calculations. It’s up to us as producers to debate the price based on the actual price paid for all pigs. Maybe too many people have a self-interest to allow this to happen.

To all those who predicted an SPP of £1.70 by the year end, it looks as though they are going to be wrong – sadly the trade has managed to control the price.

The Asian ASF problem won’t be fixed next year and no-one can suppress the market forever! Will 2020 be a year to allow some capital spend? Only time will tell.

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