Farmer Focus: Pig farmers investing despite low price

I have just returned from the Pig and Poultry Fair and it’s safe to say, so have a number of others. It was very busy and spirits were relatively high.

It’s always good to go and see what is happening, and although there were very few new products to see, it was good to get a feel of what others are thinking.

The building companies are all really busy, putting up new finishing buildings everywhere, which is a really promising sign – people are investing to keep our efficiency and standards high.

We have always been a healthy herd and as we get bigger, it is harder to make sure our standards remain high.

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We are collecting a number of saliva samples from different yards of pigs and different ages to assess our health status. It’s very easy to do. We hang ropes in the pens and leave them for 20 minutes for the pigs to pull at. We then wring them out into sample pots and send them away for PRRS and flu testing. It is a really simple and stress-free test that is proving to be a useful tool.

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Antibiotic use is coming more and more into the limelight and I have think it is a good thing farmers are being pressured to evaluate their use.

Pig farmers seem to be some of the worst offenders. However, as always, we are recording and measuring off our own backs before we are forced into it.

That’s what’s so great about the pig industry, we always try to be ahead of the pressures of the media and government. And again the National Pig Association needs to be congratulated for instigating this.

This year I am also helping organise the Nuffield Farming annual conference, which is being held in Newcastle in November.  I will be heading to the venue to meet the rest of the committee, sample  menus and discuss some of the details.

The conference is always very inspiring, so the pressure is on us northerners to make sure we put on a good event.

Kate Morgan and family farm 1,700 sows indoors in East Yorkshire and 1,200 outdoor in North Yorkshire, taking all the progeny through to slaughter.