14 May 1999

MLCpig losses warning

PIG producers are set to lose more than £250m before prices reach break-even, warns the Meat and Livestock Commission.

Industry losses have already reached £230m in the past 12 months, and with prices staying "stubbornly" below the cost of production this will increase by at least £20m, said the MLCs Mick Sloyan, speaking at this weeks Pig and Poultry fair at Stoneleigh, Warks.

But last weeks UK reference price was 22p/kg higher than in France, and 34p/kg more than the Dutch price, mainly due to the 12% fall in UK breeding sow numbers last year, he added.

"The immediate challenge the British industry faces is to sustain or even increase this premium further." Given the considerable pressure from sterling, producers must also improve physical performance, warned Mr Sloyan.

By-product disposal and meat inspection charges are adding 3-4p/kg to costs, he said. &#42