Livestock

Grain price worries as bad weather hampers ground work

Sunday 14 October 2012 05:58
Andrew Freemantle

Well I think everyone will agree 2012 is proving to be the most testing year and is still presenting challenges, as the recent heavy rains are preventing any cultivations, and naturally my thoughts turn the impact this will have on next year's grain prices.

In my May column I got a bit religious in praising the fact the winter drought broke. However, although these past few months have been challenging, a recent event made me realise why I do what I do.

It was a Sunday morning and I was working down a field, and my five-year-old son ran smiling across the field for the first time on his own to join me for a ride in the tractor. It was a "one day son, all of this will be yours" moment, which I guess most farmers have had with their children.

It's moments like this that motivates farmers to put up with some monumental amounts of stress, hard graft and low prices. Farmers just want enough money to break even and keep the farm in the family, not much to ask is it?

I raised a smile reading a fellow columnist's shock at how many people a whole cooked pig fed. As a rule of thumb, a 90kg liveweight pig will be 30kgs offal/blood, 30kgs bone, 30kgs saleable meat. You put about 125g (5oz) in a 5in round bap, which gives you enough for 240 great-tasting servings.

Andrew Freemantle farms 300 sows on 28ha near Exeter, Devon. He sells 130 pigs a week, with 85 going to abattoirs and the rest supplying their farm shop, pork wholesale business and catering trailers. Andrew was 2008 Farmers Weekly Pig Farmer of the Year.


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