Let’s end the jiggery-pokery in the pig market scrum

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

It’s exceedingly sad that it takes adversity within the Asian pig industry to not only turn around our domestic price, but make it rise.

Regrettably, the SPP has been found wanting. It has been desperately slow to reflect the worldwide demand for pigs, with every dodge, trick and manipulation being used to deflect the price increases that are surely due.

Can anyone give me a good reason why all pigs, be it organic, Freedom Food or other special requirements, plus retrospective bonus payments, are not included in the calculation?

Then the acronym APP could mean Accurate Pig Price! We as an industry could then use that as a basis in any price calculation.

We have been told by one processor to be patient. The price increase will happen – sadly I struggle to spell patience, never mind have any, and of course patience doesn’t pay inflated grain invoices. Continental prices have been racing on, well above the domestic offerings; we have a new buyer in the ring, plus demand from fresh meat buyers that would not usually be out looking for product.

I have no doubt the pigs will find the money. Some processors might find their slaughter lines mighty quiet over the next few months.

The long, hot summer of last year hit production, and we have been struggling with numbers of late, but one major change we made was to move our weaning day from Wednesday to Thursday (to allow washing down), but still serve Monday afternoon.

As I touch wood, it appears to have made a huge difference to fertility. You can see the line on the chart; it would appear we were just not catching the sows at the correct time in the cycle.

Proof of the pudding will be when they actually farrow down, but it’s looking good at the moment.

As I drive round the countryside, the crops are looking fantastic. Some areas could use a splash
of rain, but I am sure it will come. We made the decision a few years back to stick with spring barley. It works for our very light, sandy soil. I have been less than complimentary about winter barley, especially the six-row variety. It seems to have finally sunk in with the arable fraternity in our area, with some cracking crops and all two-rowed.

Every indication is that the price will rise despite the best efforts of the processors. We as an industry, require a realistic price for a sustained period to allow serious investments in buildings and infrastructure.

Let’s just get on with it, without ‘jiggery-pokery’ in the scrum – and allow market forces to take effect.

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