October 2015: Time to tighten belts and spend nowt?

With China’s sow herd dropping by 10 million, that’s surely going to create more opportunities for pig meat sales to that densely populated country, provided it can pay for it! And the claim that it had 49% of the global sows can no longer be true. I know Cranswick has made huge inroads to the Chinese market, but having a strong pound makes for dearer exports. I hope that doesn’t mean a drop in pig price here to compensate.

It’s not often agriculture hits the headlines, and when it does it’s usually for the wrong reason like moaning farmers! Currently, farmers have a cause to moan with everything we’re selling being at less than the cost of production. For our farmers to demonstrate in Brussels, things have to be bad. In all my farming years, I’ve never known it when everything has a minus sign next to it. My late paternal grandfather probably experienced a similar situation as apparently when he took the tenancy of a 3,500-acre farm in Northumberland in 1920, the ingoing valuation was £30,000. The next year the recession came and the cattle were hit by contagious abortion and that sum became £3,000. It almost broke him.

Speaking to one of our pig building firms in the middle of September to see how it was doing, the feeling was thing’s couldn’t be expected to carry on in the hectic way they have been, and consequently orders were slowing up. If there’s a financial nip about, farmers simply tighten their belts and spend nowt!

We’ve commented before about some of the rules and regulations and the loops we have to jump through these days. Many of the people who concoct these schemes will never have set foot on a farm, so they’ll not understand that no farmer in his right mind is going to do anything that affects the health of either animal or crop, they simply can’t afford to.

They should also see how the stockmen on our farms care for their charges; they must be some of the most dedicated people around, and farmers with their entrepreneurial outlook are always trying to find more improved efficiency and ways of improving standards for those who tend both animals and crops.

I have no idea how many wild boar are running around our shores, but our local paper recently said that several had been seen in one of the parks in Hull city centre. Parts of the park were closed off to protect children in case of attack, until the boar could be dealt with.

I know that rustling goes on around the country, but would anyone in their right mind deposit wild boar in a park? I would have thought they would look for a dodgy abattoir somewhere to have them slaughtered.

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About The Author

Sam Walton is a Yorkshire farmer and former pig producer, and the founding editor of Pig World.