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Welcome to the NPA Forum. This forum is moderated and contributors are expected to use their real names. Send your forum message here.

Debbie Wilson, January 22, 2021

Does anyone still have a copy of the Yorkshire post magazine which was published first week of January and had a feature about Ladies in Pigs in it please?

A scan or picture of the feature would be appreciated.

David Owers, January 14, 2021

Many thanks to both Richards for their tireless efforts on behalf of the British Pig Industry over many years - I have always admired Richard Longthorp's brutal honesty and Richard Lister's bright and cheerful persona.

Jason Evans, January 7, 2021

Dare I ask have any producers read the amendments to the RT Standards yet? What are your thoughts? And no rude words please. 

Sarah Vermont, Biomin, January 6, 2021

This upcoming webinar hosted by Biomin might be of interest to some NPA members. It is on Wednesday, Jan 13 at 8am, but it will be recorded so people who have signed up will be sent a link to the recording.

The topic is "Swine Disease Prevention - the role of organic acids" and will cover:

  • Role of microbiome and pathogenome in the gut of pigs 
  • Management tools and strategic interventions to prevent the outbreak of bacterial disease 
  • How to decontaminate pig feed using organic acids
  • How Biotronic® Top line products reduce Salmonella, Lawsonia and Brachyspira in swine 

You can find more details and how to sign up HERE

Michael Zarkos-Smith, December 23, 2020

We are recruiting. 

Are you an enthusiastic, ambitious and independent personality and do you want to guide our customers in optimising their business results? Then we are looking for you!

As a worldwide specialist in farrowing pen management and nutrition for sows and piglets, Zarkos-Smith Associates, part of the international Swinco Group, support feed companies, integrations and pig farmers in optimizing their activities in pig farming.

We are a dynamic, decisive and customer-oriented organization with an open, result-oriented approach. Because we are active worldwide, we have a clear understanding of the developments that global pig farming is going through.

The combination of our advice and our products, including feed and feeding installations, is unique and enables our customers to get the maximum return from their business.

Does this appeal to you? Then come and strengthen our rapidly growing team!

For more details contact me at: 

Ian Broumpton, December 10, 2020

New producer attestation required to allow export of pork to continue to the EU - I said along that leaving the E U would increase RED TAPE rather then reduce it and this is only the start, lots more to come im sure.

Dont get me wrong, I voted Leave, but the whole thing was done far too quick and not anything like enough info was available from government before voting in or out.

Typical Government effort really - as usual, Cart afore hoss.

Have as good a christmas as possible everyone(im sure missing socialising and a beer or six), and one thing I am sure is that 2021 will not be as prosperous as 2020 but we live in hope.

Ian Broumpton, December 9, 2020

No Deal V Deal. on the face of it a No no no no deal (jim trott/vicar of dibley) looks a better option for uk pigmeat trading.

Sows are already making nowt, so no great difference there. I'd like to know how much of the 35000 tons of exports are sow carcases. But big tariffs on imported prime pigmeat must be good for our pork prices here.

We keep hearing that the logistics of exporting to the E U could cause problems, but surely it works the other way too with imports.lets try and put a positive slant on things for once.all the headlines are gloom and doom.

We are experts at talking our prices down in this country,lets talk them up and look at the positives for a change.

Jason Evans, December 7, 2020

After Talking to Hugh Crabtree and seeing Sally Stockings' comments, I have for the fist time put myself forward for election as I would like to be part  of the PIG team that has done a fantastic job of supporting and promoting the British Pig Industry over the last 20+ years.

I hope my 30 years in the industry with most of that spent at the coal face for MPP, stands me in good stead to be elected as one of the allied industry members. Also it would be nice to follow in the footsteps of my late father who was a key member in the very early days of the NPA.

I have worked on many different systems and seen lots of change which seems to accelerate year on year and would like to add my voice to the steering of the industry through the more than likely turbulent times ahead, to keep ahead of the curve.

Jason Evans, December 4, 2020

Ian Broumpton. I am sure I have filled one or two similar surveys in the dim distance past and wondered where they get their info from to put these surveys together?

Ian Broumpton, December 4, 2020

SRUC survey, here we go again with even more utter rubbish. Frstly the second question needs amending to allow more then one box to be ticked as im sure like us most indoor producers have both straw and slatted systems.

More importantly i do not need an academic trying to tell me how to look after pigs and as for making farmers go on a course to get a certificate on pig enrichment which no doubt would have to be paid for by farmers, well its yet again people living in dream land - come on NPA knock this for six immediately.

Ian Broumpton, November 20, 2020

RE Disease contingency planning (see Members' Area, Nov 16 post). In short, what a load of elaborate crap this is,who the hell has dreamed this up now.

Firstly its yet more paperwork form filling which most of it is already recorded elsewhere and has to be  for farm assurance, secondly its  giving farm assurance schemes more ideas as to what we will legally end up having to do every year. get rid of it immediately. my own contingency plan covers whats needed in a real world and is plain and simple just like me.

Richard Longthorp, November 17, 2020

How appropriate that the two Chief Executives of the NPA and the BPA should both have their huge contribution to the UK Pig Industry recognised independently, though almost simultaneously, with Zoe Davies receiving the Chris Brant Award and Marcus Bates the David Black Award.

A big well done and thank-you from pig producers large and small.

Rob Mutimer, November 15, 2020

NPA elections are now open and I would strongly advise anyone in the industry to consider putting yourself forward to have a voice in the newly formed Pig Industry Group, which has combined the Allied Industry Group with the Producer Group.

Whether you are a producer or work in the allied industry on small or large scale, we need your nominations so NPA members can have the opportunity to vote on candidates with real diversity from all sectors of our very diverse industry.

Personally, I have thoroughly enjoyed my first two terms on the NPA board and producer group and hope to be a continuing part of the new group.

The NPA continues to operate with a very dedicated small team, led by Zoe, with an ever increasing remit of roles including political representation, environmental expertise and welfare concerns of both pigs and NPA members.  The organisation's role is to help the pig industry members react to continuing changes in the pig market and external forces, such as Government and NGOs.

The new PIG going forward will be pivotal in keeping the NPA team up-to-date with changes and new challenges in the industry, helping both the NPA staff and board make sure the organisation continues to be a forward-thinking relevant force delivering real value for money for all its members.

There are some great forward-thinking characters in our industry and we really do need your input into the NPA. It is not a massive time commitment and as an organisation, it really does make a significant contribution to the success of our industry – so please get your nominations in!

Sally Stockings, November 11, 2020

With the NPA election nomination window now open... to put yourself forward or to not put yourself forward, that is the question!

Mr Crabtree (see October 7 below) suggested that it was a 'no-brainer' for me. Having recently taken over the reins of the business he felt I had a lot to learn. He of course, as usual, was right. If you have a passion to ensure we are able to farm profitably, a profound desire to see the pig industry get stronger and to have a voice in questioning legislation, it should be a no-brainer for you, too.

I have been fortunate to work with excellent members of the NPA staff. The knowledge that Zoe imparts, that Lizzie and Becca deciphers and that Andrea manages to communicate is amazing.

If it has ever crossed your mind to put yourself forward, please do not hesitate. The environment is welcoming and along with the more serious aspects of the meetings, it is a joy to meet up with fellow members of the pig Industry on a regular basis.

Phil Stephenson, October 23, 2020

It is election time again, this time not for Producer Group, but for the Pig Industry Group, which includes our Allied Industry friends.

The NPA evolved some 20-odd years ago – some may have wondered if we needed an independent body to represent us.

Having been on Producer Group for 12 years, I am still surprised at the number of diverse issues the fantastic NPA team has to deal with and help individual producers with.

Planning/Incursions/environmental issue/political developments, particularly Brexit/new or proposed regulations – the list is long.

There is no doubt that we would not have an industry as it is now without an NPA – and I thank the pioneers who had the foresight to set up in the first place.

To function at its best, Zoe and the team need a strong guide from the Pig Industry Group. I would urge any producer big/small/indoor/oudoor to put their name forward and have an opinion.

You will help shape and secure the future of our industry and meet lots of interesting people along the way - give it a go!

Stephen Thompson, October 23, 2020

Has ASF chair, Baroness Neville-Rolfe been asked to resign yet or even better offered her notice in?

Alistair Driver, October 23, 2020

Well, here's your answer, Stephen! 

Hugh Crabtree, October 7, 2020 

Yes folks, it's NPA election season! Nominations are now open for the forthcoming elections to the newly constituted Pig Industry Group in January 2021.

During 2020 the NPA has been trialling the new group - the PIG - in a bid to better facilitate communications, reduce costs and improve policy making. The PIG is the amalgamation of the Producer and Allied Industry Groups. It has been unanimously declared a great success and is set to be formally put in place and ratified by the upcoming elections.

The number of elected representatives has been reduced a little and the number of regular invitees has also been reviewed. The result is a new group of 10 producers, 7 allied industry,  the YNPA chair for the time being, one co-opted person, invited representatives from BPA, AHDB Pork, Red Tractor and the NPA staff. A total of 26 members.

This is a really important development and once again demonstrates the NPA's willingness to pursue efficiency, communications and policy formulation improvements with innovative and 'can do' thinking. Being part of this new group will be an exciting opportunity, a challenging responsibility and an exclusive privilege - all at the same time!

The NPA would like to invite members to think hard about whether or not they might put themselves forward to take on this new role and if not, propose another suitable candidate to come forward.

If ever there was a time the UK pig industry needs active membership engagement, participation and leadership - it is now! Brexit, increasing regulation, ASF, animal rights, veganism, consumer choice and the pandemic all impacting our livelihoods massively.

Please consider becoming a part of the new PIG and get your name on the ballot paper!

Trevor Guyton, September 3, 2020

Hi Stuart

Thank you but we have it sorted now.

Stuart Rowley, Premier Nutrition, September 1, 2020

Hi Trevor
Please give me a call on 07718 909774 and I will try and help you.

Regards Stuart

Trevor Guyton, September 1, 2020

We have some GOS pigs and I have bought a mill and am grinding my own corn. We have soya too. Where can we buy minerals from to add to our feed, it's proving quite difficult?

Anna Brown - August 5th, 2020

My name is Anna Brown and I am a student at the University of Reading completing a Summer Placement research project looking into the types of contractual arrangements used in the UK pig industry. I am not focusing on the details of the contracts, but just general information to develop a mode assessing their impact on farms' economic resilience under different shocks. This is part of the larger project PigSustain.

I am collecting this information via a short online survey which is completely anonymous and takes no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete with access to the survey in the link below.

I am also hoping to conduct short interviews with industry experts to understand more about the broad types of contractual arrangements used. 

If you could possibly fill out the survey or participate in a telephone interview at any convenient time for you it would be greatly appreciated.

Vanda Kettelhut, July 9, 2020

I am making a new TV Series for Channel 5 about Farm Diversification and I am looking to speak to farmers who are currently in the process of diversifying their farm, or thinking about it and haven't yet taken the first steps.

With the help from our team of experts, we would like British Farmers to unlock the potential in their farmland by tapping into new revenues of income.

We are looking for Farmers from across the UK to take part in the series, of which the tone will be informative, and hopefully encouraging to the nation in supporting local produce and amenities, and of course the series will be full of beautiful countryside and farmlands.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the series can e-mail  or call me on 0141 300 3806.

Ian Broumpton - Who's telling porkies now? July 7, 2020

I'm baffled to see that massive disruption to european pork processing plants due to covid 19 is causing mayhem.

Has anyone checked out the number of reported cases in these countries in the last two weeks or so, for example germany is showing about 20 to 80  new cases/day countrywide  and its similar elsewhere.

So someone is definitely telling porkies?

Ian Broumpton - Food for thought, June 25, 2020

As I have previously stated that every year we get the (kids are off school) excuse as to why demand falls away in the summer holidays.

However, kids have been off school for much longer then normal holidays and pork demand has been higher then usual. Two things spring to  mind here. The normal excuse is purely an excuse to suppress prices and that schools obviously use imported pork like all food services, which only goes to prove that price rules and people in general don't care how food is produced. We need to ensure we are not made to jump through more hoops in the future.

One more point is something else that I've been saying all along too is that Brexit will force us in to more legislation and not less (eg Boris and farrowing crates etc in prime ministers question time in House of Commons).

Harriet Bartlett, PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge Dept of Veterinary Medicine, June 12, 2020

Sustainability Research with Cambridge Vet School

Calling all pig producers: participate in research quantifying the carbon footprint, biodiversity impact, animal welfare and antibiotic use of pig production.

The aim is to identify inevitable compromises (if they exist) and identify characteristics of optimal systems. All participants are anonymised, and are offered a detailed breakdown of their scores (including a full carbon footprint) benchmarked against other farms AND details of any ways your farm performs particularly well and means to improve.

Participation involves an interview (max 45 mins), and a farm tour. I then carry out welfare assessments, which are non-invasive and do not require your time. My priority above all else is biosecurity and your privacy and anonymity, and I have new COVID-19 protocols in place. I have visited over 50 pig farms so far, and am looking to recruit more producers of all types. I want to produce unbiased, useful and timely information for the pig industry.

Incentive: You might know that private firms offer impact assessments like this, and can charge a considerable amount of money. If you take part in the study, your impact assessment is completely free of charge.

If you are interested, or would have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. My email address is:

Richard Longthorp, May 21, 2020

Still some potential challenges to face but big thanks and bloody well done Team NPA on the Import Tariff front reported on the NPA website.

David Owers, April 26, 2020

Totally agree with what you say Stephen.

David Owers, April 25, 2020

Ian, we are also having a remote vet inspection on Monday. The vet did give us the option of a farm visit if we were having any problems.

He is ringing me at 10am while I am having my coffee break and I will What's App any pictures he needs. I am expecting this call to be constructive and morale boosting.

Chris, It will be very interesting to hear about your Red Tractor remote inspection we like you have very poor mobile reception.

Red Tractor- I have always been a staunch supporter of a strong assurance scheme which Red Tractor have delivered with one or two notable exceptions from a personal perspective. We are one man down due to Covid 19 (20% of our work force) and will be for a considerable time.

I have worked 7 days a week for the last 7 weeks. Farmers don't want any plaudits - we are not putting our lives on the line like NHS staff. The next phone call I receive could be a stockman ringing in sick or a slaughterhouse cancelling pigs because of staff sickness.

Stephen Tuer, April 25, 2020

With office staff working from home, getting through the usual paperwork, accounts and payroll is proving challenging. I would personally find it very difficult to add another layer of complexity to proving conformance at a time when just doing the basics is what is important.

Many businesses are also dealing with staff shortages due to shielding of vulnerable family members and self isolation due to partners being exposed to covid if working in the NHS.

So my opinion is that audits should be temporarily halted entirely for the time being.

All that said, I believe remote inspections and a portal style records/certification process would be a very positive step forwards, provided it is done carefully and phased in over time.

Ian Broumpton, April 24, 2020

Re remote inspections, we actually have a remote quarterly vet visit next tuesday, David ,which is all part of Red Tractor etc. I'll update after then. Personally, I think we should all have simply missed this quarter's visit (real or remote) and annual Red Tractor audits should all be postponed until suitable times given that everything else in life is being put on hold.

Chris Leamon, April 23, 2020

We are having a remote Red Tractor inspection on May 1 and are getting ready by putting information on portal – I will report back how it goes. We have poor mobile phone coverage.

David Owers, April 23, 2020 

It's hard raising pigs at the best of times, but what's all this crap about remote inspections? Interested to hear your views, Mr Brompton?

Nick White, February 10, 2020

Sad to learn that Glenda Montgomery has passed away - what a character! Condolences to Rex and their family.

I hope that details of the funeral will be made available as would like to attend if possible.

Phil Stephenson, January 31, 2020

I recently had a farm visit from Harriet Bartlett (a PhD student at Cambridge University), who is researching pig sustainability.

She is testing the idea that it is not possible to have low carbon footprint AND low biodiversity impact AND high welfare AND low antibiotic pig production – that there are some inevitable compromises.

All results are anonymised, and if you take part you are given the option of receiving complete feedback from Harriet, including a full carbon footprint, land use footprint, Welfare Quality scores and antibiotic use compared to all other anonymised farms and those most similar. This will include details on how your farm is particularly good and possible ways to improve.

Participation involves a questionnaire (max 45 mins) then a tour of your unit, and then she carries out welfare assessments which doesn’t require your time. She is very thorough on biosecurity measures.

She has visited over 20 farms in the UK and 20 in Brazil and is hoping to double this in the coming year. If you are interested in taking part or would like to learn more, please contact Harriet on .

Ian Broumpton, January 6, 2020

Happy new year everyone. Let's hope we get what we deserve with our prices this year. Firstly and it comes as no surprise I had absolutely no response to my post on Dec 11th, but I didnt expect one, did I.

So back to what may be in store for us this year. Well I'll predict for you all. It will be another series of excuses as to why our prices "can't" advance as much as they should. January  trade is always slack here, but given that we are only 50%-ish self sufficient and less imports are arriving and China still consumes vast ammounts all year round, then we shouldn't have too much pork here to meet a so called 'poor' demand.

But of course January and empty pockets is just another excuse to keep a lid on our price. And as usual we will peak in may/june before it's then either too hot or too wet in the summer and kids dont eat during school hols. 

And then brexit again will be used as an excuse wont it. No doubt this time next year I will be saying the same things again, won't it.

Phil Woodall - vacancy at TVC, December 28, 2019

We have a vacancy for a Livestock Movement Co-Ordinator, based in Yorkshire at Thames Valley Cambac Ltd, the UK’s largest and only truly national pig marketing operation.

Due to continued growth and the increasing complexity of servicing customers, an opportunity has arisen to join this small but specialised team to fulfil the above new role.

Based in the North office (Brackenholme, Selby) the successful applicant, following an appropriate induction and training period, will be responsible for developing systems to manage regulatory documentation associated with livestock movements. The role will include producer liaison to assist with adherence to industry and retailer standards, which will in time lead to auditing livestock production units.

Within the team you will be assisting with livestock scheduling, planning and transport co-ordination.

Remuneration package will be commensurate with the successful applicant’s skill sets and experience.

For more information, email me 


Ian Broumpton, December 11, 2019

How can it be feasible that TESCO has reduced British fresh pork facings by 7 % and British bacon facings by10% when European mainland pig meat is more expensive then British product? 

Presumably the answer is that we are subsidising imported meat, which is why the supermarkets are reluctant to pay more for our product. If anyone from Tesco reads this and has the balls to reply then please do, but I won't hold my breath waiting for a response. Possibly, you processors may have a response, too!

Joseph Hender, Cardiff University engineering undergraduate, December 6, 2019

I am part of a small engineering team at Cardiff University  looking into the development of a cloud-based sensor system which will monitor the vital signs of pigs. The aim is to create a multi-purpose system which can aid in, for example, early disease detection and estrous onset detection.

As part of the early stages of development we are looking to gather information on what pig farmers may want out of the system, as well as information on manual checks already being done. 

I have compiled a short online questionnaire, which should take only a few minutes to complete, to help collection this information. I would be very grateful if you could take the time to complete it. 

You can access it here:

All questionnaire feedback will remain confidential and anonymous. Thanks for any time you can spare in completing this questionnaire and if you have any questions regarding the project please contact

Richard Longthorp, November 21, 2019

Best news I’ve read on the NPA website for ages

Not pig price. Not feed cost. Not tariffs

But Young NPA and their new leadership and structure

Bloody marvellous and all power to their elbow

 Matthew Hewitt, November 5, 2019

I am 33yrs old, I live in Cannock, Staffordshire and I currently have very limited knowledge around Agriculture.

I have a passion for farming. However, I've never had much in the way of experience. I have done some volunteering on an egg laying farm a few years ago, they also had a few sheep which I helped with hoof trimming/fly strike and a friend of mine had a hobby beef cattle farm which I helped with cleaning out on occasions.

Down to the real question then. Do any Pig Farmers (Outdoor or Indoor systems) around the area of Staffordshire (am willing to take time off work and travel as long as I can stay over) need any free volunteering work by an enthusiastic 33yr old that is willing to learn the ropes of everything to do with Pig Stockmanship? I'm also looking in to the AHDB Pig Stockman course they have listed.

You can contact me at  

Stuart Bosworth, November 4, 2019

"PUBLIC MONEY FOR PUBLIC GOODS" - What might that mean for producers in the future UK pig industry...........assuming there is one?

One interpretation is that the Government will support businesses that can demonstrate both high levels of "Animal Welfare" and "Environmental Sustainability" in the future.

For our UK pig industry, meeting legal minimum animal welfare standards has been the subject close to the top of the public agenda with the pig industry for many years, certainly since the UK Government led with unilateral legislation to ban sow stall and tether production systems.

But what about "Environmental Sustainability"?

Before we can improve in that area, we need to assess where we are as individual businesses and as a pig industry nationally, as well as learning what are the priority factors to concentrate on for improving "Environmental Sustainability".

I recently had an interesting farm visit by Harriet Bartlett, a Cambridge University PhD student, who took time to make her own assessments of our pigs' welfare in dry sows, lactating sows and growing pigs. She also collected our production data to contribute to her project in comparing 50 pig units in the UK with 50 pig units in Brazil. (originally it was going to be a comparison with China until the ASF outbreak took hold)

Harriet needs some more UK pig units to contribute to her study, which I think is a very worthwhile exercise for the industry to be involved with. Data collection is not too onerous if you are willing to share production records, mortalities and culling, manure management, energy use including straw, fuel and electricity, as well as antimicrobial use. I know Harriet is keen to have a range of indoor and outdoor production systems contribute to her study.

She is absolutely thorough on biosecurity for the farm visit. The data from each participating business will remain confidential to that business, while contributors will eventually be able to compare results in different areas of the research against group results. Her work is supported by the departments of Zoology and Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge University.

If you are willing and able to contribute to this important study now, and you are happy to receive a free, confidential and independent assessment of your pig production system looking at both 'Animal Welfare' and 'Environmental Sustainability', including a carbon and land use footprint when the study concludes in 2021, please contact Harriet Bartlett by using her e-mail address 

All farms are anonymised in any published results.

Ian Broumpton, October 22, 2019

YET MORE EXCUSES being given to keep our prices in check. Having been told to expect a 'bonanza' due to ASF and Chinas's thirst for pigmeat we are constantly being told of reasons (excuses) as to why it isnt happening for the UK pork producers.
Firstly we were told all chillers/freezers were full ready for the march BREXIT and therefore had to be used up. Secondly summer came and when its wet there is no BBQ demand and when hot it's because no one is eating meat, we then get the old chestnut about school holidays.

Then when we finally see a bit of increase in price we are now told we have too many pigs to meet poor demand and that we dont have enough freezer space to export more to china and in Peter Crichton's words 'Europe appears better at exporting to China then we are' .

So come on processors etc get your acts together and let us have our 'bonanza'

Carys James, October 16, 2019

I am a second year Veterinary Science student at the University of Bristol. 

As part of my course requirement we have to complete two weeks at a pig farm by entry into our third year, therefore I will be looking to obtain a placement in the summer of 2020.

I would preferably like a placement as close to Southampton as possible if this works with you. If you are interested you can contact me at 

Richard Lister, October 12, 2019

In response to Ian's comment about injury or worse still to any stockperson working with loose farrowing systems , you were, sadly, ahead of the game:

Pig Kills Man and Attacks Toddler After They Entered Sty to ... 'A 50-year-old man was killed in an attack by a female pig in Italy last weekend that also left a 2-year-old hospitalized. The tragic incident ...'

It is imperative that the safety of stockpeople is at the top the agenda as any policy is forced through.

Cennyd Jones, October 11, 2019

I am currently studying a PhD on The environmental reservoirs of Mycobacterium bovis (Bovine Tb).

Being a farmers' son from a farm that has been directly impacted by several years of bTB reactors, I am eager to contribute to our understanding of this pathogen in order to hopefully eradicate it from our herds as soon as possible.

As part of my thesis, I am investigating farmers' attitudes towards biosecurity and disease prevention. I am aiming to get a sample of 400+ farmers from all over the UK, with respondents from different livestock sectors. I'll then investigate how different sectors treat biosecurity and disease threats on-farm, as well as comparing different age groups, level of education and size of farms etc. This will enrich results later on, where I'll be sampling for M.bovis in the environment of the cow (water troughs, soil, feed etc.).

I strongly believe that the results from this questionnaire could help improve how we as an industry treat biosecurity, and therefore reduce the chance of introducing/ spreading diseases.

As someone who has a small herd of Welsh pigs, I would hope that the results from this questionnaire would help pig farmers as well. There is also a chance to win a pair of Dunlop wellies.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me; .
Thanks for your time.
Questionnaire link:

Richard Longthorp, October 10, 2019

I reckon the last time we faced a situation as potentially (and ultimately lastingly) damaging as a no deal Brexit was back in the late nineties.

That little episode saw the UK pig herd shrink roughly by half – and it could have been a lot worse if the industry had not “dug in” and fought back.

But if we were to see a further halving of the herd as a result of a no deal Brexit, then it would end up at around 200,000 sows - which by my reckoning would equate to the 3 big integrators plus a few of the larger independents. Somebody please tell me  I am being too pessimistic!

Richard Longthorp, October 9, 2019

I see that NPA and NFU requests for a fairer tariff regime in the case of a no deal Brexit have been rebuffed by the government

Are we reaching the stage when letter writing has become pointless and something more robust needs to be considered?

Ian Broumpton, October 8, 2019

Re Updated pig welfare code. As I expected the most important part of the welfare code is completely missing. Ie the welfare of the stock people.

It's all well and good protecting our animals but the most important thing is to protect those who look after the animals in the first place. As we know, if one has worked with pigs that they can become very vicious, both as mothering sows and boars. The farrowing crate was devised for protection of people as well as piglets and this has been totally ignored and forgotten.

I've been banging on about this for years and still no one takes enough notice of me. At some point someone will be seriously injured or worse by an aggressive sow. Two weeks ago i walked up the side of a crate to catch a piglet and didnt expect the sow to be aggressive towards me, but she turned sideways and grabbed my nether regions (the fact that they dont get used much these days is irrelevant). 

I was, however, saved from serious injury by the crate bars. If in the future any one is injured  then the Health and Safety Executive will hang draw and quarter us for not providing a safe working environment. Only then will anything be done about it but it will be too late.

Moving further ahead however, given that we are still going to have to obey the EU on welfare and environment regardless of Brexit or no Brexit in any shape or form then it will be up to the E U to decide on farrowing crates and not our government.

It appears to me that the E U have been keeping a lid on new rules and regs and that our namby pamby state  would have already implemented far more legislation on us then what weve seen already if they were allowed to operate independently.

Hugh Crabtree, September 30, 2019

Mmm, "delicate", "little" and "thing" - never heard that said about you Richard.

The industry did quite a lot of jumping up and down when we felt our livelihoods were threatened by disease controls not of our making, duplicitous retailers and global market conditions. Our campaigning earned the eventual respect of DEFRA and the new organisation to represent the sector emerged alongside the newly formatted levy body.

At the meeting Richard referred to I asked the question is a no deal Brexit potentially as damaging as we viewed and experienced the situation in1998? If it is, we're being awfully quiet about it. I suspect though, that like pretty much everyone else, we don't really fully appreciate the impact of a no deal Brexit.

In our blissful ignorance, we continue to try to get on with our lives and hope that we'll be able to deal with whatever turns up. Hands up anyone who has done a risk assessment on a no deal Brexit? ....I haven't either.

The telly ads are asking us to get prepared. There are even messages on the motorway informing us that freight paperwork may change on 1st November.

Our man in Whitehall (Ed Barker) suggests it isn't going to be pretty if it's no deal but still we quietly wait for the tsunami to arrive...or not.

Is it all so complex that we just don't have the time or desire to work out what we should be doing? Would the small voice of the UK pig sector be heard amongst all the other political voices shouting their views?

Chris Leamon, September 29, 2019

Hi Richard
I agree with you the future of UK pigs indoor or outdoor is in the SH1T. I cannot get my COP down to  within 30% of USA/Brazil which is where I think we will need to be, and after sow stall ban trying to sell at a premium for welfare reasons is not a long term solution, it did not work then and why will it work now! 

We need the 4% tariff to be increased by government  and if they got close to parity there would be a future in UK pig production. I have sent letters to my MP but some how we need to move the news agenda onto the importing of low welfare food, that uses high amounts of antibiotics. At least we should get  government procurement to be up to  UK standards.

As a follower of Twitter there is lot of good words said, but people are just not listening you are in one camp or other, I just hope I/we are wrong and in a years time the pig industry will be smelling of roses.

Richard Longthorp, September 28, 2019

Had a rather worrying conference call on Friday afternoon to update on possible implications of a No Deal Brexit.

There was a discussion about just how damaging to the UK Pig Industry a worst case scenario Brexit might be.

The general conclusion was that, with the import and export tariff regime currently on the table and with little or no restriction on imports based on “production standards” from the likes of US and Brazil, we would be in poo of a somewhat greater depth than the late nineties/early noughties.

  • What do you think?
  • And if your conclusions mirror the above what should we be doing about it?
  • What appetite is there for resistance?

And before I get accused of fuelling the Remain cause, far from it. Despite voting to Remain, I firmly believe that it is now all about a good Brexit.

And finally please be kind in your responses as I am a delicate little thing and simply can’t be doing with threatening words like “surrender” and “traitor” or even worse “humbug”!

Chris Leamon, September 18, 2019

If Defra think a outbreak of ASF is likely in next year why are we not at higher risk level so more is done to stop it coming?

What will the compensation be to to all pig farmer that have to suffer lower prices due to there incompetence?

Richard Longthorp, July 31, 2019

Only take nigh on 20 years since we first started badgering with the launch of the video “Traffic in Disease”

Seem to recall even Crabtree had hair in those days!

Anyway, bloody well done Zoe and team for continuing the badgering  - a big “W”. 

Kathryn Owen, July 25, 2019

By way of introduction, my name is Kathryn Owen and I am a second year veterinary student at the Royal Veterinary College, London. 

I would like to encourage readers of this website to get involved in a short project I am conducting currently. The aim of this project is to better understand the common farm practice of injecting piglets with iron and how often the needle gets changed between injections. This is because, during my time spent on pig placements to date, I have observed that the recommended best practice and information on the protocols used by farmers is not readily available and I am interested to understand what farmers actually do. By conducting research like this, I hope to be able to present an informed view of current practice and share this knowledge across the farming and veterinary community. 

I have already started to distribute the survey to RVC contacts but was wondering if the advertisement of the survey could be something you might be able to help me with? Is there perhaps someone in the organisation with whom I could discuss this with further?

The survey has gone through the Royal Veterinary College ethics committee (reference URN SR2019 - 0281) and all data collected will be anonymous so there will be no link back to participants. Here is a link to the survey that participants are asked to complete -

Rafael Sousa, July 24, 2019

My name is Rafael Sousa. I moved to England with my family and started working as a courrier, but I have 9 years of work in the pig field in my curriculum. I have a lot of experience in the delivery room and weaning. I would like to know if you can help me get to know a company that needs my work. I'm 30. I'm with the group Veronesi 'la pelegrina SPA' in Italy for 8 years.
Thank you for your attention.

Ian Broumpton, July 19, 2019

Id just like to know where the promised forecast of a bonanza in pig prices due to ASF has vanished to. The job has gone in to decline again. What the hell is happening?

Luuk van Aaken, July 17, 2019

MS Schippers offers a wide range of carcas storge units. 
If you liked to know more about which options suits you the best, give me a ring on ​07493-321702

Tim Bradshaw, July 17, 2019

Re carcass storage boxes: does anyone manufacture an approved suitable one? Any good homemade ideas? I'm sick of replacing ones that have been bashed or knocked over ......

Alan Stannett, July 15 2012, 2019

Looking to make individual sow feeders in paddocks using 205 litre plastic barrels to reduce waste. Anyone done this successfully and can send me a picture or two please. 

Richard Longthorp, Yorkshire, July 1, 2019

Sir Geoffrey Boycott and I are delighted that Ed Barker and NPA have formally recognised Yorkshire as “God’s Own County”.

I will be recommending Ed for honorary citizenship!

Phil Stephenson, June 17, 2019

What is happening with our prices? Contribution (v strange name for them) prices up by an odd copper this week. 

EU prices up 30% and our price up 5% over same period . 

As producers we need confidence in our pricing structure and that is evaporating. Long-term investment and commitment needs that confidence

At the end of the day the price is simply not where it should be. The marketing groups, processors and retailers are all in the mix to take responsibility.

Richard Longthorp, June 12, 2019

APHA are dead right to be concerned about ASF getting into the UK.

The picture shows catering waste (Cauliflower and Pork) dumped in the corner of one of our outdoor sow paddocks – right beneath an AHDB “Do Not Feed the Pigs” sign!

Fortunately it didn’t look as though any pigs had taken any of the food but due diligence dictated that we report to APHA. We are now closed down for 21 days whislt APHA monitor the unit - which is inconveninet but nothing like as inconveneinet if we got ASF!

Many thanks due to diligent and responsible staff on the unit. It would be nice to think UK Boder Force inspections could match that diligence and stop any infected meat enetring the country in the first place.

Longthorp waste food

Jonathan Green, June 11, 2019

The pig industry has a problem in that over 75% of the pigs are sold to 3 processors. You can blame the SPP  for not rising fast enough but it won't if the processors are  not raising their 'contribution prices' in line with the true market . Their " contribution price" is the basis for any change in SPP price.

It is quite simple - the processors are profit taking on a large scale and the lack of competition allows them to get away with it. 

In the past 2 years we have seen rapid expansion of the processors' ownership of the national pig herd. This will continue at a pace when they can make profits this easily at the expense of the independent.

Lee Chafer, June 11, 2019

The 105kg pig that is only paid at £75 has to be one of the most shocking aspects of our current pricing system. Why have we allowed these terms to be dictated to us.

If they cant be sold in the UK, which I doubt, they certainly make the export market. Several years ago as a manager I was paid on kgs sold, we were the first farm on the call list when the processor had to roll pigs. We got full price for over weights. Why would they pay full price if they are only worth £75?

Andrew Zarkos-Smith, June 10, 2019

The lack of payment to the UK pig farmer continues to amaze me. The Dutch are receiving after all deductions, (transport etc) Euro 1.83 / kg deadweight.

This level of short-termism by the purchases of pigs will probably see farmers make hay while the sun shines for the next few years and then stop production when a down turn in price occurs again!

David Owers, June 6, 2019

Re news item - Do not betray the pig sector in future US-U.K. trade deal - NPA . 
This is going to be a repeat of the previous betrayal of the U.K. Pig sector ( which is still ongoing) . Pig meat has been for the last 20 years coming into the U.K. and is still coming into the U.K. from our partners in EUROPE which has been produced in systems of production which are illegal in the U.K. !!! 
Yes I have to agree with You Ian open Farm Sunday while a great concept is not smart for the Pig Industry while we are trying to get the ASF message across.

Lizzie Wilson, June 5, 2019

Ian, we are very conscious of the risk posed by ASF and, along with other industry organisations, we have been promoting key messages to producers, including through the #MuckFreeTruck campaign, and the public. Open Farm Sunday brings many advantages to farms and the wider industry as it is an opportunity to promote what we do in a postive light to the public.

It’s a decision that pig farmers must make on an individual basis. if they think the risk is too high, as some have, then they must do what they think it right for their business. We can’t dictate as NPA (especially as not every pig farmer is a member!) – we can only advise those who are taking part to be very careful and consider and try to limit the risks.

Ian Broumpton, June 5, 2019

Open Farm Sunday – whilst im well in favour of educating the public about our great industry, I dont think at this point we should be allowing the public on farm due to the risk of ASF. Who knows where anyone has been and what they might have in their pockets? I believe we are asking for trouble.

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 bec