By Peter Crichton

PRODUCERS are still in the dark over alterations to the pig movement system announced by food chain Minister Lord Whitty on the 28 August, and are hoping that he will clarify the rules on Monday (10 September).

There is some confusion over the identification of pigs and the number of stock moves that may be made between premises inside and outside closed pyramids.

With the number of foot-and-mouth outbreaks now exceeding 2000, producers also remain in limbo about the restarting of any export activities.

The ban on meat exports is costing between 10p and 13p/kg on slaughter pig prices and leaving a 70/head deficit on cull sows, says the National Pig Association.

They have calculated the cost of foot-and-mouth restrictions on a typical 300-sow unit to be around 8,000/month, equalling almost 50,000 over the last six months.

But industry leaders are pressing for the pig industry to be treated as a “special case”, and providing that pig herds continue to avoid foot-and-mouth infection, pressure will increase for pigmeat exports to resume even though sheep and cattle outbreaks may continue.

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

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