Andrew McCrea talks pigs at Oxford

New year’s resolutions are common, but having one for a pig farm might not be. Mine is to manage my gilts herd better.

I have been looking at my target service figures and farrowing rates over 2011 and found my herd takes a 10% drop in fertility from spring through summer and then lifts quite quickly again in the autumn. I will have to make provision for extra gilts this summer, taking into consideration gilts are more difficult to get to cycle when required. I estimate I will need 30% extra to provide adequate cover.

I recently presented a paper at the Oxford Farming Conference; the organisers had commissioned a report entitled “Power in Agriculture” and I was asked to give a presentation on my interpretations of the report and the impacts on my business. I focused on how, given the right government led incentives, pig farmers may be well placed to reduce their energy and heating costs by investing in anaerobic digestion and wind energy technologies.

Incidentally I recently looked at a grading sheet for our pigs slaughtered in 1967, over 50 years ago. I found that back then pig producers were receiving more than £210 a pig when converted into today’s money. This is hard to comprehend but maybe we just happen to be selling a very cheap product now. Undoubtedly it proves that pig meat is extremely good value for money and when combined with high quality, good welfare and complete traceability, is why nearly 50% of all meat eaten in the UK is pig meat.

Find my presentation and the power report at

Farmer Focus: Andrew McCrea

More Livestock Farmer Focus columns

See more