Welcome to the NPA Forum. This forum is moderated and contributors are expected to use their real names. Send your forum message here.
Lee Chafer, May 13, 2019
Whatever the reason for the slow response in pig price, we can all agree something does not seem right.
This is its usual expression: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. If nothing else it highlights the inability of our pricing mechanisms and contracts to respond to market movements.
We should all make some healthy margins over the next few years and rather than think of expansion or investment to reduce costs by a few pence a Kg, the independent producers should be looking at ways to get control of the sales price.
Ultimately we supply the product that the processors cannot do without. Is it not time that as many independents came together to create their own processor? I would really like to understand what stops this from happening, apart from money.
Ellen Furby, British Pig Industry Support Group, May 12, 2019
Something is wrong. This doesn't smell right. What IS going on with our prices? How can it be that the price of pigs is rising everywhere but not here? Have they given a reason?
We used have a pretty good response to this sort of thing!! is it time to start shorting pigs again?! Just asking.
David Owers, May 11, 2019
So why the slow rise in the pig price?
I am led to believe that Europe’s higher prices than ours are because:
When ASF broke in Belgium most cold stores in Europe were emptied (sold) in expectation of a price collapse, this has led them to have an immediate benefit from the rising demand from China because of ASF .
Conversely because of the Brexit fiasco in the UK cold stores were filled to bursting and so demand has not been matching supply as this has been released from storage??
Now I believe prices are about to start to take off in the UK market although the odd processor is still dragging their feet. I think we should also remember although SPP is slow to begin the climb it is also slow to fall and once it does start climbing it is self feeding so I believe the powers that be should not be in to much of a hurry to change something because of a unique set of circumstances what they should be concentrating on is re-establishing the UK premium.
Chris Fogden, May 10, 2019
It’s at times like these that we miss auction markets and the sadly dwindling number of independent producers willing and able to pull rank on contracts and take what the spot market has to offer.
We need to keep banging the message about biosecurity, especially to non-pig keepers as the consequences of ASF reaching here is unthinkable.
Meryl Ward, May 8, 2019
The situation is frustrating and unnecessary. More importantly, it is holding back much needed investment at farm level. Bank interest rates, annual tax investment allowances, Government grant funding and some new innovative ideas are all offering encouragement to replace ageing infrastructure.
Sadly lack of profitability prevents producers moving forward, and seems like a very short term perspective being taken by our customers.
Philip Sleigh, April 26, 2019
Well done to Alistair and Richard on Jeremy Vine! Thought you got message across very well and did not allow him to sensationalize the story. Now if we could just get AHDB to get the price moving!!
Chris Leamon, April 11, 2019
To check you have right information for Red Tractor audit, I find the self-assessment audit useful on their web site.
To find it go to https://assurance.redtractor.o
In the menu towards bottom you can see Self-Assessment Audit, click this and slowly work through what paper work is needed. In this area, there is other interesting information!
Andrew Zarkos-Smith, April 8, 2019
The pig price went up to £1.40 per kilo in the Netherlands last week, after transport cost and all other deductions were taken into consideration. When is the price going to move here? My son who buys sausages by the tonne was told his price has to go up by 10 pence per pound. The reason, he was given, ASF in China and the price of Pork going up. Mixed messages all round!!!
Brian Shaw, April 1 2019
Let`s go with your podcast initially. The meeting would be problematical as we are so spread out, but a compromise venue would be the Gleneagles Hotel, where the pre-meeting supper would be memorable!
Zoe Davies, April 1, 2019
Interesting you should say this, Brian, but we are trialling an NPA podcast at the moment and I’ve suggested that we do a shortened version of the NPA Regional meetings exactly for those who are unable to attend. Would this be helpful to you? Aside from that I’m happy to have a chat with you about any of it whenever you are free. I’d love to come up to Scotland and do a meeting at some point – would bet on that one being a lively one!
Brian Shaw, April 1, 2019
The agenda for the regional meeting at Newbury looks meaty and interesting.
Is there any way a meeting report could be accessed by the LFA of the holders of the Calcutta Cup?
David Swales, AHDB Head of Strategic Insight, March 31, 2019
As a follow up to Ed's comment on Tuesday, the AHDB online Brexit calculator and associated 2017 report on Brexit impacts (https://ahdb.org.uk/brexit) was based on plausible scenarios given information available at the time. We have been working on an update, based on the latest information, including the no deal UK tariffs announced on March 13; we intend to publish this on April 12.
Zoe Davies, March 26, 2019
Hi David. Thank you for your post. The lack of alternative outlets for cull sows has been a source of discussion for some time. Work has been done to find markets in the UK and in places beyond the EU – but so far, either the demand hasn’t been there or the economics don’t stack up. Or both.
Yes, China would provide a potential outlet. We are seeing some dramatic forecasts as to how ASF could affect domestic production – and there is no doubt there will be greater opportunities to supply that huge market.
However, a number of things would need to happen. First of all, we need to persuade China that it wants our cull sow meat! Cull sow processors would have to became certified to export to China, which has often been a very lengthy process in the past. From discussions with exporters, we have been told that the price of cull sows would have to be worth the shipping costs.
Where sows could be sent to China, the view is that it is much more lucrative to send individual cuts or fifth quarter items – sows as a per metre cubed on a container simply take up too much space in comparison to these sought after cuts and are less economical as a result.
That isn’t to say we should discount sow outlets at all if the market conditions are right. It depends how desperate the likes of China get, but the reality might be that there's more pigmeat to be had from elsewhere way before this becomes an attractive option to them!
Although we produce an attractive product with a glowing global reputation in China and beyond, we remain a relatively small player compared to many others (Denmark and Spain send about 4 times as much product each than we do) and it is about looking at where cull sows fit
s within this scenario.
Ed Barker, March 26, 2019
Hi Chris. You are right in that it would be wrong to characterise a no deal as a ‘disaster’ - it is more a case that there are a number of significant challenges that it would attract. Not being able to export any products to the EU clearly would be a challenge, as would being unable to export to the ROI (this would likely see more product being circulated in the UK), we would also potentially be unable to export breeding stock and have to deal with the costs and reduced availability of imported items such as feed.
There are so many moving parts to all of this, that it is difficult to give an accurate idea of what it all means at the same time; clearly currency will have a large impact, as would the new tariff rates set out by the Government in a no deal. We have to remember this will allow imports from anywhere in the world, and it is hard to predict how 3rd countries would view the UK market, having equal access to it for the first time – we’ve already seen the US eyeing our market hungrily….
We have been of the view that a Brexit no deal could, at least in the short term, provide some benefits such as a firming up of the price, reducing competitiveness of imports, with pork potentially better value than other meats or proteins (poultry, beef and lamb would have higher tariffs than us in a no deal, pushing their prices up significantly).
Given the growing China trade as well, exacerbated by ASF, this could work to the sector’s favour and this is likely how the AHDB calculator processed it – although I would be really interested to see the figures if you’d be willing to share! On the calculator, I understand that more modelling is being done by the AHDB based upon the new tariff announcement and taking greater consideration of carcase balance and labour costs.
For the longer term, however, it is always going to be difficult to predict and as you say, the key issues are likely to be non-Brexit related, such as weather, Government policies (positive or negative), ASF of course and the long term view of the labour market, which many members tell us is the biggest block to business growth.
We are perhaps more fortunate that compared to other sectors, we are less exposed to the risks of Brexit, and instead have these ‘in house’ issues that will be more influential. Savills researchers will be at the NPA Regional meetings so no doubt we can have an interesting discussion then.
As the Eastern region meeting is before April 12, we still will be in the EU at that point too!
Chris Fogden, March 24, 2019
The NPA is quite adamant that a no deal Brexit would be a disaster for the UK Pig sector.
At a loose end today, I went on the AHDB website and put my figures in the AHDB Brexit calculator. Suffice to say that this showed the complete opposite.
Not sure who to believe. I quite liked the quote from a large arable farmer in the today's local paper that he was more worried about the weather, that's probably true of me at the moment, along of course with disease. PRRS and last years hot summer had more effect on my business than any no deal could (I hope!).
David Owers, March 21, 2019
So Cull Sows are worthless, China is shortly going to be MEGA short of Pigmeat come on AHDB and NPA grasp the opportunity let's ship our Culls to China??
Nigel Penlington, March 15, 2019
I think it is the likes of Messrs Longthorp and White who are the legends. Without all their (& others) dedication, hard work and determination and above all common sense, there would have been no industry to help. So thank you, and also for the kind words in print. I just hope I can contribute to help going forward. The pig industry is full of great people and a rewarding place to work.
David Noble, March 8, 2019
My company Bioticpro are currently carrying out market research for a new product to market that deals with odour control and solids waste reduction.
We are looking for sites to carry out trials and wondered if this was something you could help us out with
I can be contacted via email or tel 07796_805261
Any help you could offer would be much appreciated.
Nick White, March 2, 2019
I would just like to add my thanks to Nigel Penlington for all his hard work and to wish him well for the future.
Richard Longthorp, March 1, 2019
Nigel Penlington - Hear bloody Hear. A legend!
Charlie Miller, February 11, 2019
With reference to Gerald Coles request while not in the southwest I would be very keen to offer him a trial as it is something I have been thinking about myself for some time.
Dr Gerald Coles, January 31, 2019
I am working with Patrick Bray who has developed a boron doped diamond electrode that produces ozone in water. Ozone in water is rapidly bactericidal at very low concentrations and as ozone breaks down to oxygen there are no residues. Currently there are no regulations about its use. In trials in young calves ozonated water significantly increased growth rates and reduced use of antibiotics. So the obvious question is can it do the same for newly weaned pigs.
We are looking for a pig fam in the southwest of England where we can see if ozone in water at 0.3 ppm has similar effects to that we have found in calves i.e. increasing growth rates and improving health. I wondered if you could suggest a farm or farms where we could run a trial.
It would require at least two groups of piglets of the same age, ie run as normal and given ozone in water I have a large amount of experience with parasites in sheep and cattle (and many publications) but not with pigs.
Gerald Coles, MA, PhD, ScD, FRSB.
Andrew Freemantle, January 29, 2019
I had an interesting email this morning from a South West pig farmer. He suggested that the NPA should ‘encourage and recommend’ that all outdoor units’ nearest sows are at least 100m from the nearest footpath.
The reason, of course, is the fact pigs that are close to roads and footpaths are most at risk from an infected piece of meat discarded (accidentally or deliberately) by a member of the public. We are all on high alert for African swine fever.
It got me thinking, should we have a Code of Conduct for siting outdoor units? Or even a wider code for outdoor and indoor producers that includes measures like this and others so that we’re all fighting to keep ASF out of our pigs as one?
Thoughts please? Send them to the forum (see link above).
Alexandra Strain, January 22, 2019
I am a final year student at Harper Adams University currently conducting my honours research project on outdoor pig production. I am enquiring whether any outdoor breeding farms might be interested in taking part in my research.
My research will involve interviewing a farm manager/experienced stock person about the health and welfare challenges and benefits on outdoor breeding units but the person and farm will remain completely anonymous in the final report.
I have already organised interviews with farmers in Devon/Dorset/Wiltshire areas so any help or advice on people to contact in the Midlands and Yorkshire would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks. You can contact me at:
Meryl Ward, January 2, 2019
Well known farmer, priest and Vice Chair of the Lincolnshire Rural Support Network, the Reverend David Creasey passed away on Sunday December 30.
David was a third generation farmer who lectured at Shuttleworth College before returning to the family farm at Hanthorpe, near Bourne in Lincolnshire. He worked tirelessly for the NFU for many years as Bourne Chairman, Holland County Chairman and Lincs/Notts Livestock Chair. A man of immense faith, he was ordained as a parish priest in the Lincolnshire diocese in 2007.
I was fortunate to know David in his work as Trustee and caseworker for LRSN. His quick wit and courteous charm lit up our board meetings, and he gave generously and freely of his time to help and support those in need.
The many tributes that have been given already speak of his wisdom, compassion and great zest for life. He was so modest but a remarkable man who will be greatly missed by so many people. Our thoughts are with his wife, Fiona.
Richard Longthorp, December 21, 2018
So Tesco’s ‘savvy customers’ understood not all products under the brand could come from the same farm (Woodside)
Could someone ask Tesco what % of its customers they would deem to be “Savvy”?
David Owers, December 14, 2018
Latest News - NPA Welcomes Regulatory Review Findings- Now this is the sort of Positive thing that could come out of BREXIT.
Zoe Davies, December 5, 2018
Thanks for raising this important issue – I will speak to you directly about it as there are some other elements to this that I can’t discuss in a public forum, but wanted to respond here too in case anyone else was of a similar view.
The challenge as you know is that the gap between the UK and EU average pig reference prices widened to 25p/kg in mid-November, significantly above the average of around 18p/kg and as a result, supermarkets are substituting Red Tractor pork with cheaper imports.
This situation is making it harder for some producers to find outlets for surplus Red Tractor pork, beyond contract specifications, and it is likely to persist into the New Year. That is why we are advising members to make plans in case there is pressure on numbers on farms over the coming weeks. I know contingency planning isn’t easy and no-one is expecting you to leave empty pens on a ‘just in case’ basis that’s just bonkers. But you have to have a plan – aside from this situation it’s a Red Tractor requirement and the last thing we need is people getting non-conformances for that too.
Whilst NPA are limited on what we can do to directly influence retailer buying decisions (short of arranging more port shut-downs), we continue to highlight to retailers the need to maintain a constant supply of Red Tractor pork, rather than capitalising on short term gains and continue to put pressure on them about importing from farms with lower standards than our own.
But we are also targeting their social media soft spots through our new campaign which launched this week called, ‘The Pork Report’, and this is where we need you (and others in the industry) to help us generate the noise. The campaign is designed to shine the spotlight of retail pork sourcing policies in the run up to Christmas and the more people that we get sending in pictures, the better impact we will have. You may sniff at the idea but the retailers are incredibly sensitive about their profile on social media and are already responding to us when we are highlighting both good and bad practice.
Much as I wish we could, we can’t just wave a magic wand, shift the market and dictate how many Red Tractor pigs processors are willing to take and they can’t be forced to take non-contract pigs. We would of course be very interested to hear from people whose contract pigs are being rolled for no good reason however.
I also hope that you have a look at our success sheet when it comes to you in January so you can see all the other things that we have delivered to show value for your membership over the last year. I hope you will agree that there is much we do to benefit you directly - prevented significant copper reduction, saved you from needing a slaughterman’s licence and protected you from a whole host of welfare rule changes. No other organisation lobbies on your behalf, we will always fight your corner to the best of our ability and I am sure you would miss us if we weren’t here!
Ian Broumpton, December 5, 2018
So now we have to make contingency plans in case processors cant take all our pigs ,where the hell are we going with all this rubbish being thrown at us. come on NPA get real. show me some value for my money or else im cancelling my membership.
Ian Broumpton, November 15, 2018
So the draft agreement is here. On the plus side (I suppose) a trade deal allows imports/exports without tariffs. What I want to know though is if there is no deal why are exports going to have tariffs and imports are immune from them(one way traffic again working against us)?
I still believe that a no deal with tariffs both ways would have suited us as we are a massive net importer of pork.
But of course the real crux of the matter of leaving the EU was about rules and regulations that frustrate annoy and baffle us mere pig farmers and to this end it appears we are going to copy and paste future E U rules and no doubt gold plate them as usual.
I believe the main reason farmers voted to leave the EU was to get rid of red tape but alas its not happening.
This of course comes as no suprise to me as ive been saying all year that this is what would happen, obviously all the ministers that have resigned this year feel the same and have been sold down the river by Mrs May.
Zoe Davies, November 5, 2018
A pig company that places a strong emphasis on delivering high standards of animal welfare is recruiting for an On-farm Assessor/Animal Welfare.
The role is located in the South East Scotland and Borders region and involves carrying out on-farm assessments of welfare standards in accordance with the assurance scheme.
You can read more about it here
Brian Shaw, October 20, 2018
With pigs now being extensively 'rolled' and pigs now overweight and out of specification, because of unusually high Belgian imports, what does our hierarchy now think about UK taking Europes surplus to our detriment?
Richard Longthorp, October 19, 2018
'Belgium Government releases €1m for ASF cull'
By my reckoning that is around £220 per pig. Can't imagine UK govt being as generous!
(Indeed, and I'm not sure how keen the Commission will be on co-funding, either, given our current political status! - AD)
Chris Leamon, October 19, 2018
I read with interest the report on Trade Secretary Liam Fox attempted to reassure an AHDB conference.
He urged the audience, somewhat cryptically, not to 'judge the Government by what it says, but by what it does'.
Well one simple think government could do is insist all procurement by Government and its agencies (schools, hospitals, armed forces, canteens and prisons etc.) is to British standards.
David Owers, October 4, 2018
I was just wondering, as we are told a Brexit no deal would have catastrophic consequences for the UK Pig Industry as in the first 7 months of this year, 110,000 tons of pig products were exported to the EU equating to nearly 60% of all UK exports. Does this figure include Sow meat ? If it does that's not many Sows ? What tonnage of Pig meat products were imported from the EU in the same period? Should we not be looking for new uses/markets for our cull Sows? Thoughts/Answers/Comments anyone.
Andrew Freemantle, September 24, 2018
Interesting article in the Weekly Tribune, about the spooky coincidence of the fresh pork market being particularly weak, just when there is alot of Belgian Pork around. (They are 240% self sufficient). I would be interested to hear AHDB take on this, as the pork board has representatives from the processors on it. If this is happening do we just take it on the chin, or do we make the point that this is not the way to treat a long term supply chain.
Ed Barker, September 17, 2018 (response to Ian Broumpton, Sept 14)
Hi Ian – you are right, given the high imports of European pork, a ‘hard’ Brexit or no deal situation would see an immediate rise in pork prices. The high tariff rates for fresh and frozen meats would render exports from the EU to the UK unviable. Some product would still be allowed in tariff rate until a certain tonnage (a quota) but this would still represent about 15% of total imports from abroad.
There would be concerns to arise from a hard Brexit scenario, however. The main one being that we know that the Government do not wish to see volatile price rises in food products – which would definitely be the case for pork given the supply and demand balance. Government and Treasury officials have told us as much, and we know the many politicians are pressing home messages about food poverty; and changes in food prices as a result of Brexit could likely see Government take the other extreme and allow everything in tariff free (see my post in response to Tim below) without us being able to export pork.
In fresh pork, although China is our single biggest export partner, we are still exporting about 64% of it to the EU in total. Much of this trade is in cull sows, however there are still significant volumes in fresh cuts and offal for carcase balance, and losing the EU as an export market would inevitably hit overall productivity, as would tariffs on imports of feed and machinery.
There is also a wider point here as to how we as an Association would be perceived by consumers and MPs/Government if we were lobbying for a hard Brexit so that it will deliver shortage of the product and price rises in pork. Many of us would agree that food in this country is almost embarrassingly cheap – most MPs and Ministers agree – but the consumer does not and is unlikely to want to listen to the reasons why.
Given a hard Brexit, the question is whether people are likely to be happy to accept a trebling, possibly quadrupling in price of their pork whilst other home produced meats such as lamb would go down significantly. If we are calling for price rises publicly, we risk alienating ourselves from the consumer when we need to take them with us so that we can keep out imports of US or South American pork.
It is worth noting that even if we have a deal of some kind, most experts feel that there is likely to be some kind of added cost on pork imports because we are going from a status quo of totally frictionless trade to something that will require some kind of oversight/checks, even if they are minimal.
Zoe Davies, September 17, 2018
Yes Lee you are absolutely right – if the disease is contained in an area of the country, as CSF was in 2000 in East Anglia, regionalisation would work. Companies trading cross border or over large areas of the country are at greatest risk which is why we are discussing the compartmentalisation approach (whereby a company could apply to be viewed as a separate compartment if it isn’t associated with the affected herds) and continue to trade as long as it meets certain rules.
However with the closeness of many outdoor herds in some areas and the fact the whole business would be affected if one of the units within the agreed compartment goes down, it may not work out as an option for all. The most important thing that people need to be doing now is contingency planning and preparing for worst case scenario.
I hope it never gets here, but if it does we need to be prepared for it and since this is the first time we’ve ever had such a warning, everyone should use the opportunity to get ready. NPA is also working with the Forestry Commission to increase messaging to the public around areas that feral boar are found and continue to push Government on increasing messaging at UK entry points – having less success with the latter so may need to just crack on and do something ourselves!
Lee Chafer, September 15, 2018
Zoe. 5.3.1 and .2 of the Defra disease control strategy suggests we could be shut down completely. Given our current model of finishing pigs born in Scotland in the England and pigs from the southern outdoor units traveling the length and breadth of the U.K. for finishing, I'm not sure that we would be afforded the same logic.
Zoe Davies, September 14, 2018
I totally understand why members want to see imports banned from Belgium, Romania or other countries where ASF is present. In realty, the Government has no legal power to do that.
The EU has agreed on a regionalised approach where fresh or frozen pig meat from ASF-restricted zones cannot be sold to other EU member states, but commercially produced fresh or frozen pig meat derived from pigs raised outside the restriction zones can continue to be traded.
While that does bring some obvious concerns, it is also worth bearing in mind that, one day, if the worst comes to the worst, we might actually be grateful for that. It could make a huge difference during an outbreak if unaffected parts of the country were still allowed to export.
Ian Broumpton, September 14, 2018
ASF. you are spot on david saying belgium and neighborouing countries pigmeat should be banned from entering the uk. As usual though we will be a soft touch here and the powers that be will say 'we cant do that'. Its a fact if boot were on t'other foot our meat would be banned immediately.
John Rigby, September, 14, 2018
Ban now ask questions later.
David Owers, September 14, 2018
Re ASF In Belgium- Are imports of Pigmeat from Belgium and any other Countries that break down with ASF now Banned ? If not why not.
Ian Broumpton, September 12, 2018
BREXIT. come on guys surely a no deal is beneficial to uk pig producers given that we import loads from the EU and export very little there... prices would go up here and we would have a shortage of pigmeat giving opportunity to produce more british product and become more competitive and profitable. Mr Putin would definitely see it this way if he was in charge here.
Brian Shaw, September 11, 2018
Re Red Tractor announcement:- does not envisage any "enhanced welfare" module being SPECIFICALLY linked to "housing system".
This requires a fuller explanation. Using the words NOT ENVISAGE and SPECIFICALLY LINKED leaves rather much wriggle room for my liking.
Richard Longthorp, August 31, 2018
Can I urge all young (or youngish!) people involved in the pig industry to try and get involved in the IGD’s “Feeding Britain’s Future” initiative. This has been running for some years now but the imperative is probably now greater than ever with Brexit and associated uncertainties growing daily.
The one certainty however is that a successful, competitive and world class UK pig industry of tomorrow will need talented, skilled and motivated people and one of the best places to start must be with the schools.
20 years ago, that generation of pig producers were fighting for the survival of the UK pig industry.
Today the current generation can fight for its successful and prosperous future as a truly world class and world leading industry.
Your call to arms!
Tim Bradshaw, August 29, 2018
Thanks Ed , a very good explanation; let's hope a fair trade deal is worked out!
Ed Barker, August 28, 2018
In theory, the answer to your question, Tim, is 'yes', but it depends on what our Government decides to do. On day 1 of a no deal, tariffs would apply in both directions as a default scenario – which would mean we export very little, but also import very little at the same time.
The UK has the discretion of lowering tariffs unilaterally. However this cannot be done on a country by country basis – with the exception of free trade agreements. In other words we either let very little in, or we let everything in as the UK’s decision. This is what we remain most concerned about due to the sensitivity of Governments to even minor food commodity rises.
At the same time, a no deal would be very damaging to EU exporters to the UK. Nearly 80% of all Danish bacon is exported to the UK, and EU bodies have estimated that in a no deal, pigmeat exports to the UK would go down about 48%, taking 7% off the EU pigmeat market (2.3bn euros total). This shows that there is impetus on both sides to come to an agreement, though the effects in the UK would become more pronounced as it would be looking at food shortages as opposed to the EU looking at oversupply.
Tim Bradshaw, August 28, 2018
If we do end up with a no deal Brexit then it would seem we would have great difficulty in exporting to the EU. There is no mention of the EU having difficulty exporting to the UK ; does that mean that they, and God help us, non EU countries will be able to flood our market with ease ?
Simple thinking is that home grown produce could replace imported product to a large degree but there again I'm known to be simple.
Richard Longthorp, August 16, 2018
Steve Thomas, who will be known to many in the UK pig industry (of a certain age anyway), was a rock solid (literally and metaphorically) supporter of the UK pig industry during its darkest period. Now working in Canada, Steve has an 18 year old daughter studying at Shuttleworth College, who is looking for 300 hours of work on a livestock farm during Sept and Oct. She will also need accommodation.
If anyone can help could they please contact me initially. It really would be great to help out an old friend.
Alan Stannett, August 4, 2018
Can I ask if any outdoor producers have experience of slatted flooring of some sort in farrowing arks to reduce straw usage and/or has anyone found a suitable material to replace straw as we head towards another winter of high prices?
Julia Krysiak, July 12, 2018
Dear NPA members,
Award-winning BBC2 history programme 'Back in Time' are making an exciting new series about schools - and we'd really appreciate hearing from any Pig Farmers with piglets from the Midlands, within reasonable travel distance to Solihull. You will not be expected to be on camera! :) We only have a couple of weeks to filming at the end of the month, so your urgent help would be much appreciated! Please spread the word and email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks ever so much for your kind help in advance!
Andrea Vickers, July 2, 2018
Olivia and I (above, pre-and post-race) completed our 5k Race For life yesterday (01/07/2018) in a sweltering 30 degree heat at Stoneleigh Park. Olivia ran her first 5k in 35 mins I am so very proud of her! and I completed mine at a respectable 55 min.
It was very humbling experience being surrounded by over 2000 women all of whom have been affected in some way by cancer. Some were there as survivors or because they are currently fighting, or, like in my case, in memory of a loved one.
We would like to thank everyone who has kindly sponsored us and helped us raise £685.00 for Cancer Research UK. There is still time to sponsor us you can do it on line on our fundraising page by following the link below, where you can also read our story, or if you prefer you can make a cash/cheque donation by sending it marked for my attention to the NPA office. Every penny raised goes towards helping save someone else’s loved one from this retched, cruel disease.
Richard Lister, June 28, 2018
On the basis of Risk and Reward I would not be in favour of a return to swill feeding given the damage 2001 did to the industry.
I would prefer to see feed waste going to AD, rather than going back into feeding pigs .
I would also be worried about the level of resource that would be available and capable of ensuring this was a safe option.
Chris Leamon, June 28, 2018
I would support Charlie Miller view as long as it done away from pigs and regular independent auditing. It will keep the stuff out of landfill, if any is infected with notifiable diseases there is a higher chance of pigs infected from landfill.
Jenny Moorcroft, June 28, 2018
I am a second-year veterinary medicine student at the Royal Veterinary College and I am looking for pig farm placements over the summer. Thus far I have struggled to find any suitable placements and was wondering if you could help me out with any contacts. I live in Shrewsbury so would ideally be looking for a placement in Shropshire. The farm must be farrowing and have at least 80 breeding sows. Any help would be much appreciated. Contact if you can help Jenny.
Charlie Miller, June 27, 2018
In response to Tom Allen's post - 20 to 30 years ago, I fed a lot of catering waste/Animal By Products to finishing pigs and it was a great source of protein then and still is today. Since those days our reliance on soya has risen (along with the price). Back then the ABP's that I used were all processed in a purpose built facility on an industrial estate where no pigs were ever likely to come into contact with unprocessed material. Done in a proper manner in purpose built facilities away from farms with strict APHA oversight it can and would be just as safe as buying any other food industry co-product. I would be right behind Tom in the queue to sign for supply!
Tom Allen, June 27, 2018
So out of the blue the other day I was contacted by 'The Pig Idea Campaign' http://www.thepigidea.org https://feedbackglobal.org
Some of you may remember them from a few years ago with their campaign wanting to feed safe treated catering waste to pigs. They are re-launching it this year campaigning for a change in the law to allow the feeding of Swill to pigs again.
I fully understand the potential risks behind this but in a day and age where Soya is a dirty word and we are under constant pressure to reduce our carbon foot print/emissions should we be re-looking at this? No doubt in this wasteful society there would be a near endless supply of food to use!
Could it be done in a safe regulated manner?
Would it be beneficial?
What do people think?
Richard Longthorp, June 25, 2018
Just seen the latest Porkwatch results and the only comment can be “What the **!! are ASDA doing?” Suggest a meeting ASAP. If you can’t get one pretty darn quick I know a way you can. Hear Thursday nights at Castleford can be quite pleasant these days.
Georgina Crayford, June 8, 2018
All Young NPA members out there... Farmers Guardian and JCB are offering a once-in-a-lifetime farming trip to New Zealand! See below:
Are you under 35 years old and ready to progress your career? Passionate about safeguarding British agriculture post-Brexit and beyond?
Whatever your dream, it could become a reality as Farmers Guardian joins forces with The Louise Hartley Scholarship Fund and JCB to create a study group to travel together to New Zealand in 2019.
In February 2019 Paul Fox NSch will be leading a group of young farmers selected from the UK on a fully funded study tour of New Zealand. The competition is open to all young people involved in agriculture and horticulture in the UK and Northern Ireland and aims to recognise individuals who are looking to learn from, influence and motivate the farming industry.
Once the shortlist is established, candidates will be invited for an interview at JCB’s world headquarters in Staffordshire in mid-July.
Entry closing date is June 29 2018. For more information and the application form, please go to:
If you like the look of that, go for it!
Zoe Davies, May 31, 2018
We are currently working with the Deer Initiative to present a case to the AHDB Pork Board to ask for co-funding for a dedicated resource, in conjunction with the Forestry Commission and hopefully BPA which will provide much needed co-ordination of effort in the Forest of Dean area initially (and then potentially for all feral boar populations) in order to reduce the overall population to manageable levels.
If successful, we will have someone based in the area who can ensure that there is effective collaboration between the Forestry Commission rangers, Natural England, local landowners, pig keepers and farmers as well as the hunters, councils and emergency services to improve messaging to the public, log data on culling, work together to properly target the problem areas and not just move the boar around the forest and ensure the boar don’t become encouraged by hunters.
I hope you, and AHDB agree that this would be a most worthy use of industry funds!
Richard Longthorp, May 30, 2018
With Defra minister Lord Gardiner today calling for a 'biosecurity mindset' and Denmark saying it is to build a wild boar fence along its border with Germnay it must be time something more definite was done around the whole issue of wild boar in the UK. Last I heard the view was that if exotic disease ever got into the wild boar population in the UK then we would struggle to be classed as free form that disease ever again and consequently struggle to export ever again.
So, given AHDB’s very commendable and successful promotion of pork exports in recent years, it must surely be worth trying to protect that successful investment by tackling the wild boar problem now before it is too late.
Chris Leamon, May 2, 2018
Thanks to the team on your draft Command Paper response, very good and covers all areas, looks like at the Pig Fair there will be only a few pens available as you will be restocking your cupboard.
Zoe Davies - Command Paper
The Command Paper is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the pig sector to shape its own future. We need your views to inform our response. Here's the next set of questions:
Ensuring fairness in the supply chain
Do you think transparency in the supply chain needs to be better? If so, what would you like to see? Do you think codes of conduct for processors would help?
Do you think there needs to be improved provision of data on volumes and prices?
How can we improve collaboration between farmers and within the supply chain?
See entries below for more questions.
See April 11 and 13 for previous entries.
Please answer as many questions as you can. You can reply on the forum via the form at the top of this page or contact us privately at
Zoe Davies, April 18 - more Command Paper questions!
We need your views! Here are some more questions.
The Command Papers seeks views on International Trade after we leave the EU. It asks:
- If you trade outside of Europe, how can Government help you open up new markets?
- What new markets should Government be identifying?
- How can the UK promote its brand to potential new trade partners?
- Should we focus on traceability and food safety, or look for other selling points?
See April 11 and 13 for previous entries.
Please answer as many questions as you can. You can reply on the forum or contact us privately at
Chris, April 16, 2018
It has been interesting following the debate during and after Countryfile program, as pig farmers we must distinguish between good welfare and perceived welfare in terms of image as seen through the eyes of general public . With all systems indoor or outdoors there is good and bad.
Andrew Freemantle, April 16, 2018
Just caught up with Countryfile. Well done to the indoor pig farmer for her eloquent responses to Tom Heap's gentle probing.
I doubt I would be so calm if he gently probed me....
The not so subtle editorial leaning towards anything but Red Tractor annoyed me, I notice it was "stringent" RSPCA Assured rules,
Red Tractor was deemed to be easy to comply with (I'll remember that when we get a list of non- compliance's at our next visit)
Nick White, April 16, 2018
Countryfile last night - well done to the 'anonymous' producer (most in the industry will know her of course). An excellent performance and some well made points, and the pigs looked great as well!
Richard Lister, April 16, 2018
A big well done to the anonymous lady who appeared on Countryfile. The pigs looked fantastic and you did a great job in terms of a very biased reportage. Unfortunately the BBC has a pre-conceived agenda of Indoor pig farming and it takes a brave person to challenge that in todays world.
Zoe Davies, April 13, 2018 - help shape your future!
Here are some more questions from the Command Paper.
Under the heading of farming excellence and profitability, the Command Paper seeks views on how Defra could best support farmers to deliver public goods. This includes the following questions:
- What are the main barriers to new capital investment that can boost profitability and improve animal and plant health on-farm (list all that apply i.e. planning system, labour, uncertain future regulation)?
- What would be the easiest ways for Government to help address these concerns (grant funding, change to tax system, change to education/training)?
- What are the most effective ways to support new entrants and encourage more young people into a career in farming and land management? What are the existing barriers?
Please let us know your thoughts by either joining the conversation on the forum via the form accessed at the top of this page OR emailing us (in confidence) at
Zoe Davies, April 11 - Have your say!
As highlighted on the website, we are asking for your views to inform our response to Defra's Command Paper on a future food and farming policy. We are going to be posting questions on the forum on a regular basis over the next few days. Here are the first two....
Michael Gove wants to use Brexit to improve animal welfare standards on farms. This includes using money under a reformed support system in England – public money for public goods – to reward farmers who pioneer or deliver these high standards.
In the Command Paper under a section entitled Fulfilling our responsibility to animals, Defra poses the following question:
- Should Government be funding pilot schemes which incentivise improved welfare? If so what might these look like?
You might also have been following the debate over Method of Production labelling. We certainly have! See our views in this Pig World article. Defra wants to hear your views:
- Should Government be pushing for method of production/slaughter labelling on retail packs? Please explain why/why not.
You can either respond on the forum via the form accessed at the top of the page, if you want to take part in a public debate.
Or email us at if you want us to feed in your views privately.
Either way I need your initial thoughts on these and other questions by Friday, April 20. I will incorporate responses into our formal response. The deadline is May 8 so we haven't got long!
To view the Command Paper, click here
As well as feeding your views into us, you can respond directly via the multiple choice questions here
Lizzy Owers, April 13, 2018
Well done Andrew, counted 25. This is high welfare at its best.
(Close, but not right - it is actually a hugely impressive 26)
Andrew Freemantle - How many piglets? April 13, 2018
I have been farming pigs for 24 years now. On Thursday, at Kenniford Farm, a Hermitage Sow, who was served via AI with Hermitage Large White semen, had a record litter for us. There were no still born piglets. It's nice to have some good news!
The females from the litter will be kept for replacement gilts. A huge thank-you to my pig team, Grant, Jo and John, for facilitating the record number!
The litter is pictured below - but can you guess (or work out!) the number? Her previous litters were 16 and 20 born alive.
(Reply by clicking on the link at the top of the page).
Nigel Mears, April 13, 2018
Re transport changes, hopefully they will stop moving 7kg pigs around, it is way too early!!!
Stephen Thompson, April 4, 2018
Re electronic IDs
Has any costings been done as to the UK wide cost??