FARMER FOCUS: Relief to have pigs out in fields

We had something strange in our fields today – pigs!

To everybody’s great relief on the farm we let the sows out, so we could clean their shed, which was so full of fym they could nearly jump over the gates. Now all we have to do is catch up with the autumn work.

The building that is going to house the pig viewing gallery is taking shape; hopefully it will be open for the spring bank holiday. At the Exeter Food and Drink Festival I am going to exhibit a sow and litter. I am racking my brains with thoughts as to what I am going to put into it information-wise. I aim to fill it with the history of pig farming in the UK, obviously highlighting the ongoing stall and tether debacle,

I have registered an interest in the Tesco Supply Chain group; I thought it would be wise to keep my options open. The initial contact with them has been positive and the contract has been drawn up with a lot of input from pig farmers. I am hoping to make it the last thing on my UK pig history exhibit.

Sadly this is my last column. Over the three years I have been writing it, it has been a real challenge to try and come up with something interesting each month. Recently I have been doing a lot of hog roasts for Mole Valley Farmers and at every one, a comment will be made about my column by a fellow farmer. It has been a real honour to do and I thank the Farmers Weekly for giving me opportunity to air my views to so many people.

Andrew Freemantle farms 300 sows on 28ha near Exeter, Devon. He sells 130 pigs a week, with 85 going to abattoirs and the rest supplying their farm shop, pork wholesale business and catering trailers. Andrew was 2008 Farmers Weekly Pig Farmer of the Year.

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