Pig producers need immediate price rises to combat increased feed costs, says the British Pig Executive.

Chief executive Mick Sloyan said the upward surge in wheat values this harvest meant pork producers faced a 60% hike in feed bills and a 30% increase in overall costs.

At the current deadweight value of about 110p/kg, the average unit would make a loss of £22 for every gilt sold, said Mr Sloyan. Even the post efficient producers would lose £12-£15 a pig.

Europe-wide problem

If prices did not rise more farmers would call it a day, he said. Retailers would not be able to make up the shortfall using imported pork because farmers all over Europe were facing the same problem.

“In six to nine months the imports would be the same price anyway.”

BPEX had committed £500,000 to convey the seriousness of the problem to retailers and consumers, said Mr Sloyan.

Modest amount for shoppers

“Pig farmers receive about 30p for every pound spent on pork, if we could get an extra 10p passed down the chain that would help them to break even again.

“It would be a relatively modest amount for shoppers  – about 10p on a pack of bacon – but a lifeline for the pig industry.”

There was scope to the increase feed conversion efficiency of UK producers admitted Mr Sloyan, but this would still not enable them to break even  and would require levels of investment that could not be justified in the current market.