Farmer Focus: Ladies in Pigs need levy support from AHDB

I am writing this column on a Sunday evening at the end of a farrowing week. The numbers stand at 96 sows farrowed, 13.88 born alive a sow, mortality at day four is 5.5% which we feel is very good.

We should wean 13 pigs a sow, at day 26. These extra two piglets a litter over the national average or 4.8 extra pigs a sow a year are the really profitable ones. The only real cost these extra pigs have against them is their feed.

One of the big advantages of batch farrowing is on a farrowing week we all have the time to spend with the sows, we can watch newly farrowed sows lay down to prevent overlays, ensure all piglets receive their colostrum and that piglets are fostered on to the best mum for their well-being.

Pig farming truly is a very skilled job.

See also: 10 ways to cut water pollution on an outdoor pig unit

The British Pig Industry is blessed with two great organisations which promote and champion our industry. The first is the National Pig Association (NPA), which represents more than 80% of British pig production.

Its five full-time employees’ knowledge and understanding means they can punch well above their weight in protecting, championing and promoting our industry.

LIP service

The second is Ladies in Pigs (LIP) – this is a group of farmers and people from the allied industry as well as wives and daughters who go out to schools, shows and supermarkets promoting Red Tractor Farm Assured Pork.

At the moment, their main sponsor is AHDB Pork, but there is a feeling within LIP that AHDB don’t value the great work these ladies do.

LIP chairman Sue Woodall, who has done a fantastic job over the past 10 years, is retiring from her role next April so the industry and LIP are seeking a replacement.

Pig producers pay a levy of 85p a slaughter pig to AHDB, which, in total, receives nearly £10m/year from us. It is not unreasonable for levy payers to expect AHDB to use 1p/pig of this levy to sponsor LIP.

LIP are the darlings of the industry and many levy payers, myself included, believe they represent a good return to the industry.

Come on AHDB Pork, back LIP. Levy payers will never forgive you if you don’t.