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
I know it’s now into February but can I take this opportunity to wish you all the best for 2020 – I have no doubt that it’s going to be an eventful year for the pig industry.
The festive period is always difficult for all stock farmers and, as per usual, we had the usual pre-Christmas breakdowns, mainly feed-orientated! The wet feeding system had its usual ‘I am going to give you a lot of hassle’ and ‘I am not going to feed some pens on an ad hoc sort of basis’ hiccups.
For good measure, we then had a broken outlet pipe under the tank just to test our good nature. Luckily, No.1 son is pretty adept at fixing things and we had spares to hand.
We then moved on to the mill: we always struggle, not so much with milling capacity but the labour required to get enough tonnage through the system. In my younger day, this was my department. I keep telling them that when I did the milling there was always plenty of feed. Needless to say, that is not the most diplomatic retort.
Next, our cable and disc feeder. A couple of days feeding by hand reminded everyone how good it is. We eventually found the problem – a sharp edge inside a feeder, which damaged a lot of discs.
After all this grief and hassle, we had no frost and record December temperatures of 15oC – amazing! For the complete weather anoraks, our rainfall for the year was 776mm, which is high for us.
After all this hassle, I am glad that Cranswick’s figures were kept under wraps into the new year. While I’m delighted they are making a nice profit, maybe they can tell me why, like all processors, they were dragging their feet on pre- Christmas price movement, of the up variety!
I can just about accept a stagnant price for the first few weeks after the holiday break but, hey ho guys, even though you are now controlling a large part of your pig requirement, you still require private pig producers.
We move into new territory in Scotland with Pilgrim’s’ purchase of the Brechin business from Tulip. Sadly, the jury is out as to whether the new owners are any better than the old ones when it comes to believing that ignoring problems is a good negotiating ploy.
Can I suggest to all processors that if you require product for the Asian market, we, as primary producers, will help you, but give us the price that we require for a decent period of time!
After being a widower for close on nine years, Eileen has decided to take this grumpy old codger on! Eileen, you deserve a medal! So, in the middle of July we tie the knot, another good reason we require a good pig price. Why July? Close season in the football calendar!