By Peter Crichton

AFTER a spate of herd clearances in the past week MAFF report a lull in reports of IPs and DCs (Infectious Premises and Dangerous Contacts) in East Anglia.

They do however warn of a number of suspect herds which are currently under surveillance and may have to be slaughtered out if they prove to be infectious or at risk.

The National Pig Association has indicated that some progress may be made in connection with a floating price per kg for pigs slaughtered under the Welfare Scheme although further details have not yet been released.

Producers caught up in restricted zones with overstocked pens have complained that the existing weight band arrangements are both unfair and unworkable.

They claim that to try and target pigs to hit the proposed 95kg minimum for a price anywhere near market value is in many cases near impossible.

The NPA proposals are believed to be linked to a pound per head plus 50p/kg price similar to the pricing formula used for weaner pigs.

However producers fear that if the 50p/kg method is used this will fail to reflect the full market value of their heavier pigs and could even lead to poorer returns than the present 70 and 75 per head proposals for heavy pigs.

Many NPA members are concerned that their organisation is failing to press for full market value compensation for zoned pigs and unless this is achieved many more will be forced out of business with rising debts.

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  • Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry