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National Primestock Show and Sale

by 5m Editor
20 October 2006, at 9:56am

UK - Live pig classes are being reintroduced to one of Britain's leading winter livestock shows after a break of about 20 years, helping rejuvenate the link between breeders and retailers.

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The annual National Primestock Show and Sale - formerly the Birmingham Fatstock Show and now held at Bingley Hall, Stafford County Showground - will see up to 60 pens of live pigs competing alongside up to 400 prime cattle and 100 pens of sheep on the weekend of November 18-19.

The return of live classes has been spear-headed by pig breeders on the show's committee with the support of the British Pig Association.

Marcus Bates, BPA chief executive, says the return couldn't be more timely. "Since 2002 over 1,000 new specialist pig breeders have emerged and the reintroduction of live classes presents a fantastic return to the winter show scene when interest in traditional and native breeds is growing among consumers."

BPA local area representative John Herbert is co-ordinating the competition that will see pedigree breeder Steve Loveless of Bridport, Dorset, adjudicate classes sponsored by farm assurance specialists Genesis.

Classes will be split into modern (Large White, Landrace, Duroc and Welsh) and traditional breeds at the event.

Interest in keeping pedigree and traditional breeds is growing. In 2006 exports of breeding stock from UK breeders is expected to top 310m, according to the British Pig Executive (BPEX) that works in conjunction with the BPA to promote domestic breeds. Russian and Chinese buyers are particularly strong customers at the present but interest from Japan, South Korea, Hungary, Germany and the Phillippines is growing, according to BPEX.

For those looking to retail pork the key is to find profitable outlets for finished stock, says Mr Bates. This predominately focuses on direct sales, specialist butchers and retailers, and caterers, explains Mr Bates. "We hope by reintroducing live pig classes to the Primestock we can begin to restore the contact and relationship between producers and specialist retail butchers and caterers. At the moment they provide the driving force in sales of pork products from traditional breeds."

Presence of butchers at this year's event will be helped by the return of the National Product competition hosted by the Birmingham Butchers Association (BBA). This will see a wide range of manufacturers and processors compete for class wins in four main competitions: best pork sausage, best speciality sausage, best pork pie and best black pudding, explains Stan Hems, BBA representative.

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5m Editor