Farmer Focus: Wishing for a steady pig meat price

I am a firm believer in the “six-P rule” – proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance.

Last year I remember saying I was going to concentrate on gilt performance and herd fertility.

One year on, both remain a challenge. We are making improvements all the time, but not quite as fast as we would like or as some others are doing.

Read more from our other livestock farmer focus writers 

Perhaps this year we will see further developments in performance with the introduction of my in-house BLUP (best linear unbiased prediction) breeding programme.

I am also making renovations and improvements to my sow and gilt service area and hope this will benefit production.

My wish list for the new year would be a steady market and price for pigmeat. Let’s hope demand can be strong in the early part of the year, setting 2015 off to a good start.

Scottish Pig Producers have been doing an excellent job on behalf of the Progressive Lean Pigs marketing group here in Northern Ireland during 2014, successfully marketing over 4,000 pigs a week now for some time. Well done again for all their hard efforts and I hope the marketing group can grow from strength to strength in 2015.

Grain trade still has a massive effect on any pig farm and seeing further in front of our costs would also be useful to say the least.

With this being my last farmer focus article and pondering on the year gone by, I think this year I shall use the motto “keep it simple stupid”, and wish everyone a successful 2015.

Andrew McCrea farms a 740-sow birth-to-bacon business and 150 beef cattle on 37ha. He is a DARD Focus Farmer and was 2010 Farmers Weekly Pig Farmer of the Year