If pig prices don’t improve, 10% of pig production will disappear by Christmas, according to a survey carried out by the National Pig Association.

In July some producers began to reduce herd sizes by culling sows, due to a rise in the cost of feed wheat by more than 25%, topped with an even bigger increase in the cost of soya.

In fact, DEFRA figures show a total of 26,000 sows and boars were culled in England and Wales in July – 7,000 more than the month before.

NPA intelligence suggests when August data becomes available it will show an ongoing upward trend in sow slaughterings.

The plight of the UK pig industry was raised by NPA chairman Richard Longthorp in a letter to Farmers Weekly on 20 July warning that producers were facing a loss of £18 a pig.

Mr Longthorp said rising feed costs had left the industry “unprofitable and unsustainable” and the proposed closure of the Hall’s of Broxburn plant would impact on producers in Scotland.

“There needs to be an early and significant increase in the price paid for pigs and pig meat. Producers simply cannot, nor will not, continue to stand losses of £18 per pig sold, with not sign of recouping their losses in the foreseeable future, while everyone else downstream in the chain continue to pay a less than realistic price,” the letter read.

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