Farmer Focus: My deal-making makes me the ‘Del-Boy’ of pig farming

The standard pig price (SPP) keeps on dropping. But I have to admit that in the UK we are in a much better position than our pig-farming friends in Europe.

Much as I never thought I’d say it, it’s thanks to the major retailers for standing by their word after the horsemeat scandal and remaining committed to sourcing more Red Tractor pork, supporting us British Farmers.

See also: Read more from our Livestock Farmer Focus writers 

Obviously there are still some imports on the shelves but given that we are only 40-45% self-sufficient in pork and pork products in Britain, the percentage of British in these supermarkets is to be applauded.

Political decisions such as the Russian import ban have an astounding effect on the whole of the EU. It is making life blooming hard when it comes to selling our branded premium product to the outlets we supply (not the major retailers). There is so much cheap imported pork about – the gap widens and widens.

Each week when my Bpex pig market report mailshot comes through, SPP is the first thing I look at with squinted eyes, praying it has turned a corner. But it just drops and drops!

Week after week I find myself doing “special deals” – something I have never really done, but I’m becoming more like the wheeler-dealer Del Boy of the meat world. I was so adamant this wouldn’t happen, but needs must in this climate – it’s either that or chuck stuff away.

So, as I said in my last column, the butchery guys are having few days on the farm. Given the freezing, snowy conditions and extra jobs to do this has worked out quite well.

They are learning more about the product, and that life in the butchery isn’t all that bad. At least when it’s sub-zero outside they can walk into the warmth of a 2C chiller!

Anna Longthorp

Anna Longthorp runs Anna’s Happy Trotters, a pork wholesale business supplying butchers, restaurants and farm shops with free-range pork from her family’s 2,100 breeding sows