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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: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/0LAML/
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 email@example.com
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 ... https://www.newsweek.com '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: https://aber.onlinesurveys.ac.
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
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” https://www.youtube.com/watch?
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 - https://rvc.onlinesurveys.ac.
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.
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 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