11 January 2002

Pigs pick up in bad year

ONE business that has picked up a little in 2001 has been pigs. The pigmeat market has made recoveries following the shock of foot-and-mouth disease mainly due to a European-wide drop in supply. Nationally, slaughterings are down on the year before due mainly to the reduction in the pig herd and at Easton Lodge they are down due to a change in breeding policy and herd performance.

Bacon pigs

To the year-end Nov 30, 2001, we produced 7911 bacon pigs at an average gross price of £72.20 a head. The fluctuations through the year can be seen in the graph for pig sales Dec 2000-Nov 2001. The price a kg at the beginning of the year Dec 2000 started at 101.7p to finish at the end of Nov 2001 at 105.46p/kg. The highest point was reached on July 9 at 111.09p/kg when 160 pigs averaged a gross price of £81.76/head.

The gap in the figures in February was, of course, caused by the movement restrictions due to FMD. It is worth noting that we can consider ourselves extremely lucky to have only lost one weeks slaughterings when many businesses have been devastated by movement restrictions.

Small mercies

Looking at our year end accounts as they come off our Farmplan Business Manager Plus program the pig unit is in profit but by no means as profitable as the previous year. Perhaps under the circumstances we can be thankful for small mercies in a year which has brought very little in the way of light relief.

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