I am writing this piece from the 17th floor of a Hotel in Nagoya, Japan. I have been touring the country as a guest of Chubo Shiryo (a Japanese version of BOCM Pauls). So far I have visited two farms and a restaurant owned by a pig farmer.

At current exchange rates pigs are worth £3.30kg and feed about £300/t. Japan has 120m people who each eat, on average, 17kg of pork a year (in the UK we eat 25kg). Since Japan has little arable land, almost all feed is bought in from the usual suspects. The national pig herd stands at 900,000 sows, with 200 sows the average herd size.

The relationship between the two feed companies are strong and the advances in creep feed manufacture that BOCM have provided Chubo Shiryo with is helping the company, farmers and the UK’s trade balance.

Management at both farms I visited was excellent; they were producing between 22 and 25 pigs a sow a year compared with the average of 18 pigs sold a sow a year. The only thing holding them back was low born alives; 11 on one farm 12 on the other. The reason for this, I believe, is because their genetics were based around producing good tasting pigs with a lot a fat cover.

In a restaurant I visited the meat from a large white x landrace x Duroc was heavily marbled. Country of origin labelling is also poor and I find it amazing how, with virtually no foreign cars on their roads, food purchasing is not equally patriotic.

Back at Kenniford spring is slowly happening, sows are out in the fields and the contractor has been booked for FYM spreading. My thanks go out to all my staff for working so hard in my absence.

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