Geoff Terry has been in the pig business for almost 40 years, but the market changes in the 1990s were the most challenging period of all.
The sector underwent significant change, with producers from across Australia leaving the pork industry.
In Tasmania Woolworths was the only company ready to continue to support the local pork industry.
“I went down to Hobart to see Woolworths and have a chat to them about what I could provide and what my costs were, Geoff said. “That was about 15 years ago, and we’ve been Woolworths’ suppliers since.
Mr Terry appreciates the relationship he has developed with Woolworths, which involves the company’s local representative coming to his farm in Deloraine once a month to discuss various aspects of the business.
“This process of constant contact means Woolworths is always aware of any issues we may have, such as summer infertility which may affect our outputs, and they are constantly keeping us up to date with consumer demand, Geoff said.
Woolworths spokesman Brett Thompson says this constant contact allows both the supplier and Woolworths to provide consistent, excellent quality to consumers.
“Woolworths seeks to deal with suppliers like the Terry family because they are experienced and reliable farmers, Brett said.
“All pigs sold by Geoff Terry are bred on his property, therefore, he is able to predict numbers that he has available to sell each week well in advance and communicate this to Woolworths. This in turn helps Woolworths anticipate its supply lines.
“Woolworths seeks to buy only the best quality porkers from its suppliers. By dealing with growers like Geoff and his family, the company can be confident that it can expect consistent high quality pork.
Geoff Terry provides Woolworths with around 3000 pigs a year. The pigs are sold at about 16–17 weeks of age, at a dressed weight of around 60 kilograms.
He selects genetics that deliver the carcase traits that Woolworths needs. His feeding regime also is tailored to allow both rapid growth and proper finishing of his porkers. The ratios for feeding to reach this quality product are all computer formulated to ensure a balanced diet for the pigs.
The Terry family are also accredited under the Australian Pork Industry Quality Assurance Program (APIQ), a necessity for all Woolworths’ pork suppliers.
Geoff says these elements are essential for providing quality pork products. He also says the reliability and security provided by his agreement with Woolworths has helped him to make changes to the farm in order to increase productivity and sustainability.
All the pigs are accredited as bred free range, meaning piglets are born and bred outdoors and at about 3.5 weeks they are weaned into housing accommodation where they are grown out to finish.
The effluent from the pigs is spread in pasture paddocks, giving huge nitrogen boosts for crops, improving the business’s overall productivity by providing all of the feed grain for the pigs.
Geoff says the interlinked nature of the farm businesses is reflected in Woolworths’ role in the pig industry of Tasmania itself.
“Woolworths’ support benefits the local processing sector. In Tasmania, we only have one pig abattoir and that is open because Woolworths chooses to process its local pigs here.
“This supports our local transport companies, abattoir and processors, not to mention the local growers like me, he said.
Brett Thompsons says the supermarket likes to deal with likeâ€‘minded people.
“A retailer needs quality product to offer to its customers and a farmer needs a reliable market to supply, Brett said.
“The relationship therefore is mutual, based on communication, integrity and trust.
Geoff agrees. “It’s a two way street that is rewarding for everyone.
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