Jimmy's Farm faces rare breeds cull

TELEVISION farmer Jimmy Doherty has told of his sadness that rising pig feed prices means he will have to reduce his herd of breeding sows.

Laurence Cawley

PIG farming is at crisis point.

That's the view of television farmer Jimmy Doherty who claims hikes in feed price are forcing him to cut his herd of breeding sows from 95 down to just 30.

Jimmy's Farm at Pannington Hall Farm in Wherstead, near Ipswich, which was featured on the BBC in the popular series Jimmy's Farm, boasts a range of rare pigs including Gloucester Old Spot, Saddlebacks, Tamworths, Large Blacks, Berkshire and Essex pigs.

But because of the near doubling in the price of feed, Mr Doherty is having to cut back “drastically”.

Explaining the move, he told a national newspaper: “The reason I'm cutting back so drastically is not that I've fallen out of love with farming. I've been forced into making this very difficult decision by the vagaries of global economics.

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“The price of pig feed has rocketed from £130 a ton a few months ago to £225 today.

“Nationwide, the entire industry is at crisis point. Farmers are asked to provide the highest welfare standards, produce good-quality meat and be long-term custodians of the countryside while making an average loss of £27 for every pig they rear - a total loss to the pig-farming industry of £200million a year.

“My rare breeds take twice as much time to grow to full size and therefore need twice as much feed.”

The cull is expected to begin this week.

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