Pig carcasses hanging© Rex

British pig prices remain under severe pressure after production has risen year-on-year for the 22nd month running.

UK pigmeat production totalled 68,500t in June – up 6% on 2014 levels.

Finished prices dropped further again in the week to 18 July.

The EU spec standard pigs price dipped to 133.07p/kg – 28p/kg down on 2014 and below many farmers’ cost of production.

“The situation in the pigmeat market is unbearable, forcing some out of business, which is particularly worrying when demand is expected to rise in the longer term.”
Albert Jan Maat, Copa-Cogeca

AHDB’s weekly report showed clean pig slaughterings were higher in June and carcass weights were still more than 0.5kg heavier than last year.

Sow slaughterings were also up 7%, the first time they have risen in more than a year.

“This may be just be a case of cullings returning to normal after a period of low throughputs,” AHDB market specialist manager Stephen Howarth said.

“However, given that cull sow prices are still very low, it could be the first sign of producers feeling the effect of the current negative margins.”

Pig farmers are losing money across Europe, with oversupply and weaker demand punishing prices since Russia’s import ban started in January 2014.

Training opportunity

Levy board Quality Meat Scotland has secured government funding to train pig stock people.

Courses are likely to be held in Nairn, Aberdeenshire, Perthshire and Dumfriesshire.

Farmers with staff who might benefit from training should email QMS pig specialist Allan Ward on award@qmscotland.co.uk.

European farm union Copa-Cogeca has written to the EU Commission calling for urgent action.

Last week the commission refused to reopen private storage aid for pigmeat, an emergency measure to keep products off the market.

Copa president Albert Jan Maat said the EU pig sector had lost its top export market and prices were now at critical levels.

He said countries should be allowed to negotiate with the Russian government on their own to try to restart trade.

“The situation in the pigmeat market is unbearable, forcing some out of business, which is particularly worrying when demand is expected to rise in the longer term,” Mr Maat said.

“The commission is in charge of the situation and it must take immediate action.”