FARMER FOCUS: New Year hopes for pig prices to remain firm

The year rounded off with a flurry of events and outings. I had my annual curling match and hog roast with Harbro, as well as the Christmas cull sow competition at the local market.

While us pig farmers tucked into lunch, the champion sow trundled her way to the slaughter house in Essex.

The Insch Farmers held their annual dance, which was a great success again this year, 60 years since it restarted after second world war.

The following week we were invited to our local Young Farmers dance after holding a valuation for them earlier in the year.

When I add up the Christmas and new year celebrations, December really is a hectic month.

So, by the time this goes to print, the festive season will be a distant memory, along with any hangovers!

Looking forward to the year ahead, I sit here with my wish list, which is almost as big as December was busy.

I will start with the obvious for a pig farmer, which is for the pig price to remain firm, allowing the industry to invest, making us able to compete with the better European producers.

My next one, is that the Clydesdale Bank continues to support farmers, especially me, allowing for a new grower building at Lazyfold.

Thirdly, cereal prices need to be low enough for livestock farmers to feed their stock and high enough for the arable farmer to make a pound, not a fortune.

Now soya. I wish a ship could get to a port in North or South America, load with soya and deliver to the UK without any problems. As soya buyers we are told that yields are very good, so price should be down, but getting the stuff moved is the problem.

Weather is so important to farmers. It must be what we want and when we want it. Is this asking too much? I also have a special request for a few sunny days for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

I could carry on my wish list for quite some time yet, but if we get all the above I will be a happy chap.

So, a happy and prosperous new year to you all.

Danny Skinner farms 440 sows selling finished pigs through Scottish Pig Producers. He runs 125ha at home and rents a further 50ha, growing cereals for home mixing

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