QUALITY PORK Limited in Brechin is on track to reopen its facilities following a temporary closure due to a Covid-19 outbreak amongst staff.

The abattoir closed its doors on Saturday, January 23, but is rescheduled to open this Monday, February 8.

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Andy McGowan of the Scottish Pig Producers told The SF that the focus now will be on addressing the backlog of pigs.

“The abattoir closed for two weeks and part of this was to make sure it met any requirements for export certification, to keep our options open," said Mr McGowan. "It is on track to reopen this Monday and we are in the middle of discussions as to what that will look like to get through the backlog of pigs as quick as possible.”

In any one week, the Brechin abattoir processes 6000 pigs plus some cull sows on top. Mr McGowan reported that over the past few months this number has remained stable and that in order to address the backlog from this temporary closure, finishing pigs will take priority.

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Scottish Pig Producers are currently in talks with members to look at options for pigs which have fallen out of specification commercially.

“We are working on other options that might be able to give us value, so producers don’t lose out," he continued. "It wouldn’t be our normal route, mainly because wholesale markets tend to be more volatile but if all goes well, we should hopefully have a plan.”

Over the past two weeks, producers have been able to find temporary accommodation for their pigs, for example making use of free lambing sheds, however, Mr McGowan said this could only be a short-term solution.

“It has been a challenging time for everyone but all those directly involved have been very cooperative. Our ultimate goal now is to get the backlog down and get things back in to balance,” Mr McGowan concluded.