Kate Morgan - High welfare systems - Can they meet world food demand?
I am 29 years old and live in the small town of Driffield in East Yorkshire. I am a Director of our family pig farm which has 1700 breeding sows and takes the progeny to slaughter, selling to Sainsbury’s via Cranswick. The whole family is involved in the business, my Mother and Father and also my two older sisters.
I studied at Newcastle University and graduated in 2003 with a 2:1 joint hons in Agri Business Management. After University I worked in marketing but this was not for me! So I decided to do a ski season and then continued to spend a year travelling round the World. I have many hobbies, ranging from Eventing my two horses to playing hockey and running.
Chinese really know how to look after you!
I have to say I'm quite surprised at the standard that the pigs are being housed! as far as I can tell from the CCTV and what Mr Xai and people who work for him they are housed in good conditions, you have to understand that this is a very large company and so I still believe that there are still some very backward farms but I think the larger companies are all housing pigs not far from European standards. The major difference is the fact that there are so many people here companies see it as their job to be giving jobs to local un educated people and so the technology in the buildings are not as advanced as they perhaps could be! They all seem to have staff to muck out as soon as anything makes any mess at all! They also think that the welfare of the pig is higher than that of many people in China, I have to say from what I have seen I totally agree! They worry about the water and the temperature and generally the whole environment that the pig is surrounded by! They even stated that only women collect semen as its nicer for the boar if its a woman!! I am very clear on the fact I won't get involved in that, welfare or not!!! I met the Chairman of Da Kang who was a very knowledgable guy who told me that their company focuses on the pig farming side as that's where they believe they can change the taste and give better conditions to the pig! He told me that the FCR was currently at 2.5 and they were finishing pigs in about 140 days from 7kg to 100kg, this is the most factual information I have received so far! He was very clear that he didn't think that the genetics that they imported performed much better thank theirs as they needed to adapt to the local environment! A different way to look at it and not sure if this supports what I have been told by others. The one thing that really is apparent is that they are obsessed with bio security, everything they do is because of it and trying to get a safer end product, this is a vey good thing but as I walk the streets in China I can't really see where that is continued off the farm! The customer has not really changed over the 20 years Da Kang has been in operation they still just want meat, a few people may of traded up to a premium product but this is such a small market it hardly counts. From what I can see no one really minds where the meat is from or how it is reared yet Da Kang did mention that everyone, children in cities and the country know where pork comes from, much more than I can say about the British people! I guess when you see the head hanging in the street it says it all out here! Plus there is nothing that they won't eat and so it's very hard to compare them to us! I have learnt a great deal from Mr Xai and Da Kang and they have looked after me far better than I could ever imagine, I spend 3 days with them and they showed me many things both from a business perspective and also sightseeing, driving hours so I could see special parts of Hunan Provence, I have to say they have some amazing places, when I get home and figure out how to,up load pictures I will, Tianman mountain is an amazing place! A massive thanks to Mr and Mrs Xai for all their time and hospitality, you really did spoil me! So Yolanda and myself have just arrived in Wuhan were the pig auction will take place, it's throwing it down with rain! I think we are going to be meeting Paul for lunch so,it will be nice to have some British company purely so I can have a full conversation! I will let you know what happens at a pig auction in the next few days and ill try work out this picture thing!! I'm rubbish but I'm only a pig farmer!! Bye for now