Risk management top of the list for pig farmer Andrew McCrea

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing” – what true words these are. I certainly would have done things differently given half a chance.

For one I would have forward bought grain for at least three months. Who could have predicted what was about to happen to the world grain prices due to droughts in America, wet weather for most of the UK and speculators?

Risk management has to become more relevant to pig producers in the future. Not surprisingly our banks and meal companies don’t seem willing or able to provide more credit in difficult times. I noticed BPEX have some interesting information on “call options” on the risk management section of their website. This warrants further investigation and consideration.

I spoke to the very helpful Andrew Knowles (BPEX) who told me of various ways I can find more information on the subject. This is in stark contrast to my local meal company, who struggled to see the situation from my perspective. How naive of me to think that a meal company may want to help me buy cheaper feed.

I am continuing to cull sows heavily and service numbers have already been impacted. It pains me to say that this time next year I will have fewer pigs to sell, but my business will be on a surer footing.

My vet and I discussed the option of restocking my unit during his recent quarterly visit. Apart from some blips in fertility, the pigs are looking well in general. The costs associated with a restock worry me more than anything at this point.

Andrew McCrea farms a 740-sow birth-to-bacon business and 150 beef cattle on 37ha. The pig business is a sow and weaner farm with four contract finishers. He produces 18,000 pigs a year to the British Quality-assured Red Tractor standard. Andrew is a DARD Focus Farmer and was 2010 Farmers Weekly Pig Farmer of the Year.

More on this topic

Read more articles from Andrew McCrea 

Read more from our other livestock farmer focus writers

See more