Farmer Focus Livestock: Pig prices are healthy for Chris Fogden

Of course it was inevitable that the spell when I had no pigs to sell would see the highest prices for more than 10 years, so I am fully expecting prices to collapse about the time we start selling weaned pigs again in mid-May.

“No pain, no gain” as they say and missing sales for a few weeks should be a worthwhile sacrifice if the outcome is better breeding herd performance through improved health status.

Having heard of some quite moderate results coming from some recent restocks locally I was a little apprehensive while waiting for the first litters to be born. Appropriately enough for a business that needs revitalising, the first farrowing happened on Easter day. The first litters born to the Rattlerow Landrocs are at least a full pig a litter ahead of the old herd, the pigs are viable and losses are low from the excellent mothers. I will say nothing precise about numbers until we have had a few more litters under our belt.

Gilts are arriving weekly like clockwork from my neighbours the Wright’s outdoor gilt mating site. Full credit must go to Richard, Claude and Andy for the quality and temperament of the animals they are turning out, as well as to Rattlerow and the Greens of Corskie, who bred them.

The grass reseeds that happened as land came vacant are looking okay, although as we needed a small part of the ground quickly for the incoming gilts, the sward hasn’t stood any chance in those areas. Most of it though won’t be needed until at least May or June so should get well established. The incoming gilts are nose rung, which will limit digging, but I won’t be winning any prizes for grassland management; I don’t somehow think January reseeding is normal recommended practice.

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