By Peter Crichton

DESPITE forecasts of a shortage in UK pig production – which should lift prices – cheap imports continue to flood in.

Spanish export dressed pigs are available at just 76p/kg delivered and there are reports of more than 30,000 French shoulders being dumped on the home market.

With more expected on the way, it is hard to see how the home producer can match these prices and hope to break even.

On the back of continuing negative equity that has haunted all pig producers for almost two years, herd clearances and receiverships are rising sharply throughout the country.

Sow slaughterings are heading for record levels and as a result cull prices are falling with the latest deadweight quotes in the 50-54p/kg range and long waiting lists.

The announcement that the latest UK AESA is down by 1.36p to just 79.23p/kg deadweight flags up more negative signals for the industry.

However, spot quotes this week are expected to be “stand on” at worst with the odd copper or two put in by some abattoirs who are now seeing the availability of non contract pigs starting to slip.

Weaner prices also continue to reflect poor finished returns and the Farmers Weekly spot 30kg average has fallen to £20.60, compared with £27.50 six months earlier.

In a demonstration against foreign importers a six hour blockade of the Tulip International bacon plant in East Anglia was carried out by scores of beleaguered pig producers on Tuesday.

Tulip International is best known for its Danepak brands.

The protesters are calling for better labelling of imported products that are further processed in the UK but do not comply with higher domestic production standards.

  • Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry