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Eastern autumn regional summary - industry concerns discussed

17th Oct 2018 / By Rob Mutimer

Eastern regional chairman Rob Mutimer summarises last week's autumn regional meeting. 

I chaired the Eastern regional meeting at Diss last week, which was well attended by 62 people.

Rob MutimerThe general mood was rather subdued with increasing worries on profitability, health and, of course, Brexit. Ed outlined the possible repercussions of a 'No Deal' Brexit and the short-term possibility of us not being able to export after March 2019, while still importing from Europe.

Lizzie updated us on the ASF situation and possible trade effects, while stressing to producers the need for contingency plans and movement restrictions in the event of an outbreak in this country.

There was concerns from some members that the pig industry was not well represented in the Red Tractor adverts. Mike Sheldon listened to their concerns and further explained the upcoming changes in Red Tractor auditing spot visits and strategic Red Tractor marketing.

The final presentations from NPA staff and Robin Lawson, from Rattlerow farms, were on the pressure to stop tail docking. There was great concern that APHA were being draconian in their approaches.

There were some producers on range of production systems who had experienced serious welfare issues with tail biting with mortality figures of 10% plus. It must be stressed to Government in the strongest possible terms that tail biting is an extremely complex behavior that is very difficult to manage and currently tail docking still represents an important tool for minimising biting.

The other major concern in the room was what effect the hot weather was going to have on herd production in the short medium term.

There was not much positive news but it was good to see how the NPA is working hard to get across industry messages on Brexit and being proactive about ASF and other issues affecting our industry.