Uncertain times in the pig industry

This time last year we had finished combining our winter barley, but due to the lack of sunshine it is not ready yet. Thankfully, straw yields were good last year and we have enough left, which will keep us going.

It will be a relief to have our own feed barley again as it will reduce the feed bill at the piggery. Feed costs are, once again, causing a major concern, with soya reaching £440/t and new crop wheat more than £190/t.

It is definitely a case of the old saying “up corn, down horn”. Yet again, it looks as though the pig sector is in for a rough time. On top of these huge costs it has just been announced that all the staff at Scotland’s major pork abattoir have been given 90-days’ notice. Hopefully if it does close, then all the Scottish pigs can then be killed at other smaller factories to avoid the long haul down to England.

Thankfully, our local abattoir has been pushing ahead with its producer-butcher meetings, one of which we recently hosted. We had an excellent on-farm evening where the butchers were given a tour of the livestock followed by a barbecue; I think it is very important for all parties in the food chain to communicate and work together.

Unless we can receive a better price for our pork and our milk there will be no pig or dairy industry left in the UK.

Iain Green farms 1,110ha as a family partnership. Stock includes 130 pedigree Simmentals, 330 Simmental-crosses, plus followers, 500 Highland Mule ewes and 340 sows. The partnership also runs a haulage business

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