Farming: Perfect piglets arrive at Pockthorpe Hall

Vicky Morgan in new "freedom farrowing" pen at Pockthorpe Hall Farm, near Driffield.
Vicky Morgan in new "freedom farrowing" pen at Pockthorpe Hall Farm, near Driffield.

Lots has been going on and I have plenty to tell you about. Firstly Kate and I were asked to speak at a Compassion in World Farming Chinese Conference in London last month.

Compassion are doing a lot of work to try to improve pig welfare in China and to be honest the Chinese farmers we met have really embraced all their targets. I think it’s fair to say a lot of them have a long way to go but if all the farmers in London with all their passion and enthusiasm is anything to go by they will catch up with the UK. Welfare standards. Kate and I were specifically talking about loose housing for pigs, currently most of China’s sows are in stalls for basically their entire lives. We talked about the issues that the UK industry faced when stalls were banned in 1996 and showed them a video tour around our farm highlighting the large straw yards and the sows contented nature and shared our performance figures. It was a really great day and time well spent.

Dotty has just weaned her 14th litter. She managed to look after 8 babies this time which really isn’t very good!! I am considering her future! Jude on the other hand is doing very well. She came into farrow on December 7th and gave birth on the Friday with 14 perfect babies. They are due to be weaned next week and she is been a very good mum and looking after them all well! (phew!)

We have had our Christmas party! This year we all went to the local pub in Kilham, ‘The Star’. We were treated to some delicious pie and peas and looked after very well. Its fair to say a few of us didn’t find getting up the next day for work too easy!

The National Pig Association, NPA have been very busy monitoring the performance of UK retailers with regard their support for British gammon in the run up to Christmas. The price of pork has been decreasing for the last year and things are not looking much more promising for 2016 as we are all producing more pigs per sow, demand for pork is falling, the pound is strong against other currencies making imports very attractive and Russia closed its borders to all imports.