Letters to members
Your Society was the first organisation to offer its members a premium on grade ‘A’ pigs, nevertheless the percentage of pigs earning the premium remains very low. As a result your Society frequently loses business and as frequently cannot execute orders accepted. Moreover members lose the premium and the Society the curing profit. More Grade ‘A’ Pigs would help the Society to grow because bacon made from this grade sets up a demand for “St. Edmunds” and the demand makes possible a better price. As it is there is an all round loss of money which ought to be earned by members as premiums, and by the Society as curing profit.
Your Society has seriously considered this lack of teamwork on the part of the members and has decided to extend the principle by adding grade ‘B.’ It seems on the face of it to be a contradiction to add Grade ‘B’ when the Society wants grade ‘A’ but it is hoped that the extension to ‘B’ will raise the standard of pig production all round. The type of pig usually classed ‘A’ and ‘B’ is shown below :
From the Society’s experience it is possible to obtain grade ‘A’ from nearly all pure breeds and pure breed crosses providing care is taken in the selection of the breeding stock, both Boar and Dam. Large White Boars in all crosses are preferable. Good structure and good feeding are essential if your Society’s organisation is to hold its own against internal competition and the heavy importations of the standardised productions of other countries.
By adding Grade “B” the Committee seeks to revive, extend and sustain the interest excited in 1922, when the premium policy was started. Many members appreciated the Committee’s action and entered wholeheartedly into the scheme. A great volume of correspondence followed and a large number of members visited the Factory on killing days and they acquired valuable information. Much more interest of this character remains to be associated with the Society’s work, and members are urged from the point of view of pig structure and bacon curing knowledge to take & greater interest in the work of their own Society—to visit the Factory on killing days and particularly the Farm where stock is being. raised for the purpose of propagating among members the right type of pig. The demand of bacon buyers makes it necessary to obtain greater uniformity in pig structure, and your Committee most sincerely and earnestly invites the co-operation of members in the study and practice of high class pig production. It costs as much to produce a bad pig as to produce a good pig.
The following extracts are from a recent report to DANISH FARMERS on DANISH BACON exported to England :
” If the trade takes a dislike to our bacon or likes to believe that it is disadvantageous to them to sell it, the price will be forced down and it will be very difficult to regain lost ground. . . . Where in Denmark there are 85 pigs to every 100 people; in England and Wales there are only 8 pigs to every 100 people. There is room for considerably mere pigs in England. The greatest difficulty with Bacon Factories in England to to obtain sufficient and a sufficiently good uniform material. There is a keen demand for a much greater quantity of English Bacon If only the factories could obtain the necessary pigs. It is for that reason that ths question of uniform pig breeding is obtaining more attention.” . . . “English Agriculture is very smart sport but rather poor practice.”
Further he writes of the many Breed Societies “all claiming their pigs to possess the best utility points”:
” Besides the scientific breeders of the different breeds there are a great number of farmers of whom many do not take into consideration the breed of the pigs they keep and who use one cross now and other times another. The road to Improvement of these conditions is not unknown.”
These criticisms and much more besides in the above report are instructive. It is clear that your Society has to work so as to get the trade to value ‘St. Edmunds’ bacon above all competitors home and foreign. With this object your Committee is prompted to make this com- munication, being anxious to increase the profit of the members and the wellbeing of a native industry now mostly controlled by foreign pro- ducers. It is the business of your Society to exercise a greater influence over pig production so as to make best bacon and in this way to win a predominant position in the bacon industry of the country.