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Pigs

The name of the new pig sector company – BPEX Ltd – is based on the British Pig Executive which it replaces. Although it suggests continuity, unlike the old executive, BPEX Ltd will represent the interests only of English pig producers.

A combination of devolution and levy board restructuring means pig levies will be raised separately in Scotland and Wales by Quality Meat Scotland and Hybu Cig Cymru respectively from 1 April.

BPEX-Stewart Houston, who sees his official job title change – and shortened – from British Pig Executive chairman to BPEX chairman while effectively retaining his post, has pledged to do all he can to help producers meet the challenge of soaring feed costs.

Government ministers and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board have already approved a temporary reduction of 10p in the levy paid by English pig producers for the financial year 2008/09. It will come into force from 1 April.

The one-year cut, which takes effect from April 1, reduces the total levy paid by producers to 75p per pig slaughtered. At the same time, a strategic decision has been taken to use reserves to increase spending by £2.5m.

The extra money is being spent on promoting the industry and building on the continuing feed cost crisis campaign to maintain the momentum built up so far aimed at getting a fair price for producers.

There is also a range of Knowledge Transfer and Research and Development work including a £1.5 million PCV2 vaccination scheme which offers producers vouchers for the vaccine.




PIGS

16 November 2001

PIGS

LOW-PRICE SURVIVORS STILL FACE DIFFICULTIES

THE British pig industry is still trying to recover from its longest ever crisis, which saw 3000 producers quit in three years.

Mick Sloyan, MLCs pig strategy manager, says the 11,300 holdings that survived the period when prices were below the cost of production face continuing problems.

"When it come to producing protein at lowest possible price UK producers cannot compete with imports, and they cannot simply sit back and wait until the exchange rate is more favourable," he claims. "They have to offer something extra that consumers are prepared to pay for, and market it well."

Consumers already recognise the British Quality Standard mark indicates home-produced pigmeat is special, but Mr Sloyan wants to see much more branding.

"Some pig farmers are already developing a brand image for their products, and are working closely with independent retailers. There is no reason why this cannot extend to the big multiples, which are becoming keener on regional and sub-regional branding."

He also favours more communication between producers, processors and retailers, so farmers can send their type of pigs to the right markets, and get rewarded for meeting particular carcass specifications.

The strategic plan drafted by the British Pig Executive (BPEX) envisages a segmented pig meat market catering for the increasingly "individualistic and idiosyncratic" demand of UK and European consumers.

It says that different segments must be identified and exploited, while maintaining and promoting underlying core values such as high welfare standards, the use of quality feeds and independent auditing of the supply chain.

Mr Sloyan, who manages BPEX, thinks the UK industry can target and capture new markets in the EU and worldwide using value added products.

But to be competitive the industry needs to reduce costs in pig production, slaughtering, processing and distribution. The target is a 10% cut in supply chain costs over five years.

"This will be a painful process but it is achievable though greater communication, restructuring and rationalisation. We need to add value to relationships, improve the flow of information between businesses in the supply chain, research into and demonstration of best practice, and targeted use of promotional funds."

"UK pig producers cannot simply sit back and wait until the exchange rate is more favourable" – Mick Sloyan.

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PIGS

26 December 1997

PIGS

CYCLES have an upside and a downside. Talk to pig farmers and theyll all tell you the same thing at the moment – were on the downside.

Despite the recent price tumble, previous expansion in the breeding herd is still in the pipeline. This will take clean pig slaughterings to 15.5m in 1998, compared with 15m in 1997.

Europe-wide, its a similar picture with a 3% rise in production forecast.

Another 0.5kg increase in carcass weights is also expected as farmers, faced with lower prices and contract changes, push stock to heavier levels.

In a business such as this, where the supply and demand equation is so finely balanced, this doesnt bode well for prices.

According to the Meat and Livestock Commission, deadweight values will spend much of 1998 below 1997 levels, when about 110p/kg was the average. For some farmers this could be the final straw, with 100-105p/kg often seen as the minimum break-even point. The biggest year-on-year differential is likely in the summer, with no repeat of the rapidly-rising summer trade expected.

Meanwhile the prospect of the stall and tether ban will mean extra costs for some producers. Once again, many will be left hoping for a bumper grain harvest to push feed costs down.

Pig producers have, however, not suffered at the hands of the strong £ sterling as much as other sectors.

Pork exports are expected to increase 15% to 171,000t in 1997, with supply shortages on the Continent seen in the wake of the classical swine fever outbreaks, which devastated Dutch production.

Although it will now be difficult to maintain this export momentum, as Continental supplies recover, therell be less pressure from imports, as domestic prices make this country a less attractive market.

Looking further ahead, the latter part of 1998 could see a slow down in slaughterings as contraction in the breeding herd filters through. Perhaps then pig farmers will be talking about the upside of the cycle.n

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PIGS

27 December 1996

PIGS

IT HAS been an odd year for pig farmers.

Prices were rising in the late summer, at a time when they traditionally fall. But, as imports were sucked in, and the long-awaited increase in supplies began to filter through, prices turned down.

Higher supplies will also be a feature in 1997, particularly in the final six months. By April, the breeding herd could be 4% bigger than a year earlier, according to the MLC.

And clean pig slaughterings could increase from 13.8m to 13.95m head.

Not a huge increase but, in an industry where supply and demand is finely balanced, probably enough to keep prices below this years levels.

There could also be another slight increase in carcass weights which rose 1kg to 68.1kg in 1996.

Across the EU, pork production could rise 2%, with the most marked increase of 5% likely in Spain, following the cheaper feed costs resulting from a bumper harvest.

Overall, exports are expected to fall 6000t to 130,000t, with little change in the import outlook. Currency movements, as always, will be crucial. Net result of such factors is that 120p/kg could be a typical deadweight price in 1997, compared with a figure nearer 135p/kg this year.

The third quarter will probably see the weakest time, with values rising in the run-up to Christmas.

For the pig producer, it seems the best times are over, for the immediate future at least.

IT HAS been an odd year for pig farmers.

Prices were rising in the late summer, at a time when they traditionally fall. But, as imports were sucked in, and the long-awaited increase in supplies began to filter through, prices turned down.

Higher supplies will also be a feature in 1997, particularly in the final six months. By April, the breeding herd could be 4% bigger than a year earlier, according to the MLC.

And clean pig slaughterings could increase from 13.8m to 13.95m head.

Not a huge increase but, in an industry where supply and demand is finely balanced, probably enough to keep prices below this years levels.

There could also be another slight increase in carcass weights which rose 1kg to 68.1kg in 1996.

Across the EU, pork production could rise 2%, with the most marked increase of 5% likely in Spain, following the cheaper feed costs resulting from a bumper harvest.

Overall, exports are expected to fall 6000t to 130,000t, with little change in the import outlook. Currency movements, as always, will be crucial. Net result of such factors is that 120p/kg could be a typical deadweight price in 1997, compared with a figure nearer 135p/kg this year.

The third quarter will probably see the weakest time, with values rising in the run-up to Christmas.

For the pig producer, it seems the best times are over, for the immediate future at least.

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PIGS

13 December 1996

PIGS

SCOUR infections, that cut growth rates causing poor weaning condition and increasing post-weaning ill-thrift, could be due to coccidiosis.

So warns Jake Waddilove of the Eastgate Vet Group, Suffolk. He admits vets are finding it easier to diagnose this scour, which usually occurs in eight- to 15-day-old piglets.

The disease is hard to recognise and diagnosis must be based on clinical signs and lab tests, he says. "The coccidial egg infects young piglets by mouth. Relatively heavy infections are needed to cause it."

Scours range from creamy white to yellow watery types and piglets within a litter may show differences in the severity of infection. The egg survives nearly all disinfectants except Oo-cide. When that is used strategically it stops infection building up in farrowing houses and is a major aid to coccidiosis control, claims Mr Waddilove.

Once the piglet starts scouring treatment does not work well because the gut is damaged already, he adds. But he has found specifically timed injections with products such as Midicel beneficial when given to infected piglets before scouring is seen. Baycox has also worked well to control coccidiosis in countries where licensed.

Piglets that scour between eight and 15 days old may be suffering from coccidiosis infection, say vets.


PIGS: WATCH FOR


&#8226 Respiratory disease.

&#8226 Thin sows due to underfeeding.

&#8226 Coccidiosis.

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