Farmer Focus: Date set for pig unit depopulation

Harvest is still a few weeks away for us and winter barley was looking well, but it is now looking worse for wear after the heavy showers we have been having.

Probably too much slurry and not enough growth regulator have also had an effect, but its well above the ground so it will combine fine in the forthcoming sunshine, I hope.

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The date for our partial depopulation has been moved twice due to various reasons, including us not being organised in time. But now it is written in stone or, at least, the timetable has been printed and stuck up in the office and piggery wall.

We need to have all growing pigs cleared off site by 8 September and start a five week medication programme for the breeding herd on 22 September and weaning back on site by 29 October.

Weaners have started moving already with the first 700 going for their holidays to the seaside overlooking the coastal town of Cullen, which is famous for its ice cream. Let’s hope the pig feed there is just as good.

Finding accommodation has not been that easy, but with the help of our feed reps and the marketing group, we should manage to find B&B, or we will sell some 8kg weaners which should make a good price when barley and soya prices are relatively low. Anyone interested can contact me.

I am not particularly politically motivated, but this week I went to a NFU debate on the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence as I wanted to get an insight to how independence would affect me as a farmer and my family’s future.

There was the usual politics of dismissing the opposition’s facts and figures and at the end of the debate it came down to who you though was most plausible and you could trust most.

What surprised me most was the yes campaign wanted to have independence yet share the pound with the rest of the UK and when it came to renewables, have a joint agreement allowing feed in tariffs to be paid to us by the UK consumer. Maybe we can have our cake and eat it. I don’t think so.

Danny Skinner farms 440 sows selling finished pigs through Scottish Pig Producers. He runs 125ha at home and rents a further 50ha, growing cereals for home mixing