Iain Green is counting the days until his pig-finishing unit is complete

The middle of January was mild and the snow quick to disappear in our area. The mild spell has made life easier for the out-wintered stock. The dry weather has also reduced the number of straw bales needed for bedding the stock – indoors.

The builders are proceeding well with the new slatted pig-finishing building and I am now counting the days to completion.

There has been a drop in the cull sow price in recent weeks primarily due to the knock-on effect of the dioxin scare in Germany. It goes to show once again that our markets in the UK are heavily influenced by other European countries.

Some good news for the pig unit is that I have managed to secure enough feed barley until harvest. I was concerned about availability as I believe stocks will be low by July, I only wish I had bought it all at this time last year. I have sold some malting barley forward for £190/tonne for harvest movement, the dilemma is whether I buy feed barley forward for use next winter or wait until harvest.

Last month, I was fortunate to be invited by one of our local feed manufacturing companies to the Oxford Farming Conference. This was a tremendous, well-run event with an excellent array of speakers, many of whom made me aware how far the UK is behind the rest of Europe when it comes to using GM technology. I feel we must educate our consumers and change the age old myths about GM.

Although Caroline Spelman’s views were that, as farmers, we must prepare to farm without subsides, I feel this can never happen until the end price for our produce dramatically increases. Thankfully, I think European Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos realises the problems we face.

Meanwhile, we are preparing ten Simmental bulls for Stirling bull sales. Hopefully trade will be strong.

Farmer Focus Livestock

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