Despite some welcome signs of change in the fortunes of the pig industry, there are some ominous long term indicators. slaughter weights are starting to ease off from January’s high point. But at about 94kg deadweight, this year’s slaughter pigs are still five kg a head more that this time last year.
Welcome news from Morison’s when the retailer raised its contribution to production costs (SPP) by 30p to GBP 1.80. Pig producers need more retailers to do likewise. More to the point, producers need a more reliable system for recovering their cost of production, just to stay in business.
January pigmeat imports totalling 83,000 tonnes were up over 20% in December, not to mention double the volumes imported a year ago. Bacon imports in January were 27,000 tonnes, compared to 9,500 tonnes a year ago and 17,500 tonnes in December.
Market trends like these spell trouble for UK pig producers.
Since writing this piece in the spring, the AHDB has reported a recovery in market figures to nearer normal levels. However, this does not mean that pig farmers are any better off than they were earlier in the year.