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Just a Couple of Things

I had a conversation with someone whom I have a great deal of respect for as a farmer and a strong voice in my industry, during the conversation he questioned the approximate figure that I gave for the current annual total slaughtering’s which I pitched at around 9 million. He questioned this because he was aware that at least one large pig marketing company would pitch this at least 10% higher. Defra have released figures that indicate that the total breeding female herd is currently around 328K which means that at 10m slaughtering's we are selling 30+ pigs/sow/year in the UK. At 9m slaughtering’s we are selling 27+ pigs/sow/year on average. This is miraculous because we are selling more that we are weaning, on average.

I believe that pig producers pay 81% of the statutory levy and processors 19%. An amount of that money has been invested in the promotion of ‘Pulled Pork’ which focussed on lifting the value of the shoulder joint which normally made its way into low value processed pork products. The demand for shoulders must have increased because everywhere the ‘Pulled Pork’ campaign is being heralded a success. The demand for low value processed pork products does not appear to have suffered as processors are busy announcing considerable profits. So what part of the pig, that wasn’t going into these products before, is now? Or, are we meeting that demand by importing more cheap pork to fill the gap and so in effect keeping the value of the shoulder joint where it always was. The price that producers are being paid has dropped by around 18% and yet part of the 81% they pay for marketing has increased the profits of the processors who only contribute 19% to the funding of the marketing campaigns. Moving more shoulders certainly seems to have opened up the borders.

The thought occurred to me that it might be worth having a combined species campaign that incorporated ‘pulling’ and ‘wool’ in the PR strap line, concentrated on making sure that our eyes are able to clearly see what is going on.

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