Farmer Focus: Hoping for big bounce back in 2021

This year, because of Covid-19 I have really missed spending as much quality time with my grandson as I would like.

I’ve also missed days out to the rugby with my mates and copious amounts of Guinness.

We were going to have a fortnight in Tenerife in October, which obviously we had to cancel. 

Through the first lockdown the pig industry managed pretty well. The downturn started with African swine fever (ASF) in Germany.

See also: Farmer Focus: Bird flu and backlogs add to Covid stress

ASF resulted in Germany losing its export market to China and the resulting surplus being dumped on to the European market. This was quickly followed by the major sow slaughtering plant in Germany having to close due to Covid and the collapse of the sow price.

Through the second lockdown we have seen feed prices rise by 20% or more and many slaughterhouses operating on 30% reduced kills due to Covid restrictions.

China has withdrawn export licences for some plants due to Covid outbreaks among staff. I have to say I have always felt very tough both physically and mentally, but some days the lack of any good news is beginning to get me down and I can only assume it is all getting too much for some.

Were there any highlights of 2020? We have achieved our best ever performance in 2020 – 34.4 reared/sow/year. Oh, and I also won a fiver on the lottery. 

I know there have been, and still are lots of mistakes to be made by Boris and his cabinet, but they do have two seriously difficult problems to deal with in Covid and Brexit.

I would treat them to a drinks party this Christmas. I would put them right on where they have gone wrong and I would let them dine on pigs in blankets (British pork of course) – there would be no vegetarian option!

I really believe that once we get January and February out of the way, and we get a vaccine and warmer weather, there will be a big bounce back next year. And, remember folks, pigs in blankets and brussels sprouts are not just for Christmas.

David Owers is a Farmer Focus writer in Lincolnshire. Read his biography.