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Drought hits acorn-fed ham


The lack of acorns reduced the entry of Iberian pigs into the pasture for fattening. Thousands of animals go from qualifying as field bait, which causes millions in losses to producers

The Iberico dehesa sector will be one of those affected by the drought in recent months due to the lack of grass in those territories and, above all, due to the scarcity of acorns to provide sufficient food for the cattle herds that are traditionally fattened in that ecosystem type.

This represents more than three million hectares, mainly holm oaks, cork oaks, gall oaks or wild olive trees in Extremadura, Andalusia, Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha and Madrid.

In recent years, and under normal conditions, the montanera meant the entry into the pasture of almost 700,000 animals for the fattening phase based mainly on acorns and other herbs.

This campaign, all estimates agree on a reduction in the entry of animals.

For Agustín González, responsible for the Iberian sector in Andalusian Agri-food Cooperatives, the cut would be more than 20%, which would reduce the supply in the face of rising demand in the markets.

According to his estimates, the reduction in acorns would be close to 40% compared to a normal year.

The Andalusian cooperatives also denounce the decision of the autonomous government not to grant aid for the supply of feed to farms with less than 15 sows, which they consider, like the COAG, which means leaving out 70% of family farms that operate in the activity.

In this cut of animals for the montanera, the increase in cereal prices, higher costs and the insecurity of their recovery in the sale also influence, for which many farmers already chose to get rid of the piglets and give up their fattening.

From the interprofessional of the Iberian pig sector, its president Antonio Prieto agrees on the scarcity of acorns, although the situation is very different depending on each territory.

As a consequence of this context, he estimates that probably many animals, which at this moment are in the montanera for their classification as acorn-fed animals, should only be classified as field bait animals due to insufficient acorn-fed fruit for fattening until March .

In this sense, the sector agrees on the need to strengthen controls and inspections when classifying animal carcasses in order to maintain its image of quality and that each product responds to its feeding and handling, in addition to its race.

To obtain acorn-fed animals based on their diet, their entry into the pasture or montanera must be carried out from October 1 to December 15 for slaughter between December 15 and December 31. of March.

The animals must enter this ecosystem with an average weight of the lot between 92 and 115 kilos, and they must replace, at least, 46 kilos during a period of more than 60 days with a minimum age of 14 months.

At the slaughterhouse, its minimum weight will be 115 kilos, except for 100% Iberian animals, which must be 108 kilos.

For its qualification for its diet, an acorn-fed animal must have a minimum daily diet of eight kilos that it looks for in the soil, in addition to herbs and cereals for an estimated transformation of 0.8 kilos of weight.

Under normal conditions, the density would be one animal for between 1.5 and more than 4 hectares, depending on the acorn campaign or its tree mass.

For acorn-fed Ibericos, the black label is reserved if they are also 100% purebred Ibericos, and the red label if their racial purity is at least 50%.

For marketing purposes, the name "Pata negra" can be used if the animal is acorn-fed and 100% Iberian.

The denomination on a label of a product such as montanera or dehesa can only be used if it is from an acorn-fed animal.

In terms of classifications, in addition to the acorn-fed Iberico, in a second step is the Iberico de cebo de campo for animals fattened in extensive or semi-extensive farms when they have an area of ​​100 meters per animal and basically with cereals.

For slaughter they must be at least 12 months old and are marketed under the green label.

The third step is occupied by Iberian bait in intensive farms, farms with an area of ​​two meters per animal based only on feed and whose marketing is done under the white label.

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Source: elparis

All business articles on 2023-02-03

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