FARMERS FOCUS - Farmers Weekly

Subscribe and save

Farmers Weekly from £133
Saving £46
In print AND tablet





WE ALL need a bit of a motivation top up from time to time and my chance came when a group of pig producers took a day trip to the Netherlands. We went to look at a current hot topic in our industry, the Tempo boar from Dutch genetics firm Topigs.

Some interesting papers in the morning at a research farm were followed by a visit to an enterprising family business that has made its fortune being paid to take away a waste product, carrying out a simple process, then selling it. Surely there is something for us all to learn from that.

The firm also had many pigs, including the Netherlands” only outdoor organic herd. With an enviable cost of production, its only problem seemed to be its tax bill.

Of the Tempo boar and its progeny, the reason for the trip, I saw nothing, although some of the group claimed to. Some semen is coming into the UK and some boars have been imported from France. It will be interesting to see whether European results are replicated in the UK.

However, I am unable to try the Tempo boar as the finished pig contract I am on specifies the boar type to use. This is no handicap, looking at performance to date; the first progeny of this type are growing like mushrooms and look superb.

Only the final test remains, to see how they grade and whether we have to alter nutrition to compensate. Encouragingly, finishing farm mortality, in most cases, is running at below 4%, with little or no medication in feed.

 I recently received a thorough questioning as to why I am not doing any significant niche, direct or added value marketing. My excuse – that any money made in such a venture could easily be lost by taking my eye off the ball on the production side – failed to convince my questioners or even me.

So the idea must merit further investigation. I need to look at reasons to do it rather than reasons not to. And nothing motivates me more than investigating new business opportunities, even when they don”t get further than my fevered imagination.


FARMERS FOCUS-Alliastair Mackintosh

I CAN’T remember as wet a time at tupping as we have had to endure so far. There has been an abundance of grass, but ground conditions have meant that a good proportion is being trampled.

 To avoid too much spoilage, we keep the sheep moving from field to field every couple of days. This minimises damage and gives time for grass to recover before grazing resumes. Despite this, ewes have tupped well and after the first 17 days there are only a few left to tup.

 I’ve spent time recently catching up with BSPS and slaughter claims. I don”t want to miss out on any deadlines and be without some claims that will be required to help my cash flow during 2005.

However, I’m not going to rush prime cattle to market in an effort to secure slaughter premium because I’m hoping the increase in finish, better weight and, dare I say it, price will more than compensate for the loss in slaughter premium.

Store lambs have been wormed and turned on to stubble turnips. We are feeding a purchased high-protein pellet, mixed with home-grown barley, in an effort to have them finished early in the new year.

By the time you read this, I hope we will all have signed up to the National Fallen Stock Scheme. It has been a long time coming, but it is essential that as many of us as possible sign up. This will help keep costs down.

DEFRA has agreed to partly fund the scheme for the first three years. It is vital that we take advantage of the available funding to set this scheme up, or the total cost will be passed on to producers. A

lthough forms have been sent out to all livestock producers, every-one can ring the number on the form to register, rather than use the form itself. Is this the best way to use taxpayers” money when all that is required is a phone number?

Lessons need to be learned and I hope producers” money is better spent in future.

blog comments powered by Disqus