Being surrounded by Lexions working and being in competition with Hesstons and bale chasers for straw can only make me feel inadequate as a farmer.

Having barely touched last year’s straw owing to our depop/repop, I only needed about 400 quadrant bales of barley straw to top up supplies and this was catered for on one day during a rare dry spell.

The straw was so fit the contractor’s baler was able to stay hard on the heels of the combine, helping keep the local Hesston balers at bay. It all went smoothly as I was away at an NPA meeting that day.

NPA elections loom shortly and it would be good to see enough candidates for the producer group to lead to an election, especially as several people are standing down. It would be even better to see those pig producers not NPA members to join up and contribute to a body working so effectively for the industry. I’m sure they can afford to now.

The performance of our new gilts continues to be encouraging, with numbers born increasing. Hopefully, the total born will easily exceed 11 piglets a litter. I can now own up that our old breeding herd struggled to exceed 9.5 born a litter and 8.5 weaned, I would like to believe the lamentable results were not only down to incompetence, but also due to disease.

At one time though we were consistently weaning more than 10 a litter from the old herd, the decline was long and slow, but unstoppable and with hindsight I should have restocked at least five years ago.

Hindsight is also telling me I shouldn’t have locked into feed prices for a year in June when wheat was £115 delivered. Never mind, at least I can share in the suffering of the Lexion-owning classes.