CHEAP PIG meat imports from other EU countries have, for many years, undermined UK prices.

The UK currently absorbs over 30% by volume and 37% by value of Danish pig meat exports to EU countries, according to Danske Slagterier (Danish Meat and Bacon Council).

European mainland pig meat average producer prices have risen from €1.20/kg in mid May and now stand at €1.48 which is equivalent to almost 100p/kg.

UK pig meat prices have drifted down by an estimated 5% over the same period. A year ago EU mainland prices were as much as 25% below the equivalent values in the UK.

Once transport delivery costs and a recent improvement in the value of the Euro are allowed for, imports from most EU pig production countries are now almost on a par with domestic levels.

Better demand for pig meat in Europe will also help to stem the flow of cheap imports to the UK with Belgium, French and Spanish prices already breaching the 100p/kg threshold.

European producers also benefit from heavier carcass weights and better killing out percentages.

A recent study of carcass yields has revealed that GB producers receive payments based on the lowest killing-out rate in Europe of just 73.6%. 

Spanish, Dutch, French and German producers are receiving killing out returns between 75% and 76% with those in Germany at 80.2%.

Average deadweights are also higher in these European countries, with Germany leading the field at 88.22kg and the remainder in the 83/84kg bracket compared with just 80.96kg in GB.

Average bottom line deductions in GB are quoted at £5.30 per bacon pig including haulage with Danish, French and Dutch figures between £1.50 and £3.70 per pig.