UK pig body issues herd reduction warning

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

UK pig body issues herd reduction warning

Related tags Pig farmers European union Livestock Pork

A report by England’s pig levy body Bpex has shown that without retail price increases now, the pig herd in the UK and Europe could be cut by up to 10%.

The report, entitled ‘The Impact of Feed Costs on the English Pig Industry’, showed that due to poor crop production around the world and few price increases from retailers, UK pig producers were losing around £14 per pig reared.

According to Bpex, the cost of production for pig farmers in the UK rose to £1.70/kg, but farmers were only being paid an average of £1.55/kg. Without price increases, the industry is also expected to lose around £100m over the next six months, which could mean many farmers will be forced out of the business on a global scale.

In Germany, a reduction in the size of its herd of just 4% led to a 26p/kg increase paid to farmers. Bpex said an 8% decrease in the herd could therefore lead to prices going up by 50p/kg. When these increases were translated into retail prices, it showed a rise of up to £1.40 on a pack of four pork chops, £2.50 on a leg roasting joint, 60p on sausages, 70p on a pack of bacon and 40p on sliced ham.

Head of communications and supply chain development Andrew Knowles said: “Cost of production has soared due to big increases in feed cost and, yet again, pig farmers are facing big losses. But a relatively modest increase of just a few pence now on the retail price would cut farmers’ losses and prevent massive increases to shoppers next year if pig production drops.”

Europe’s shrinking herds

According to the UK’s National Pig Association (NPA) there will be a distinct lack of pork and bacon products on supermarket shelves across the globe.

Data recently released by the EU showed the global pig herd to be declining at a frightening rate as many farmers became “plunged into loss” by higher feed costs.

The main European pig producing countries had reported shrinking sow herds and some EU countries reported reductions of 13% (Italy) and 9.6% (Poland), said the NPA.

In a private meeting in September this year, Bpex director Mick Sloyan warned European retailers that a fall of just 2% in pig slaughterings next year would cause a staggering price rise of 10%.

Estimated pig herd decline across Europe:

• Denmark – 2.3%
• Germany – 1.3%
• Ireland – 6.6%
• Spain – 2.8%
• France – 3.2%
• Italy – 13%
• Hungary – 5%
• Netherlands – 3.6%
• Austria – 2.8%
• Poland – 9.6%
• Sweden – 7.2%

Related topics Meat

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