By Peter Crichton

THE UK pig industry continues to hold its breath over the possibility of a resumption of exports and the return to some form of normality to the pig system.

The earliest that an application could be made for the resumption of pigmeat exports is 20 September at the next Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) meeting of EU vets.

According to Ian Campbell of the National Pig Association, any decision on exports will depend on the level of foot-and-mouth outbreaks occurring in the UK.

Veterinary sources were optimistic up to now as the blood testing of sheep in vulnerable areas was indicating the virus was coming “under control”.

But news of a confirmed foot-and-mouth outbreak near Hexham on Friday (24 August) has come as a blow to these hopes.

The cattle and sheep farm in question is in an area where the last outbreak was over three months ago and is only 20 miles from the Heddon-on-the-Wall pig farm which Defra claims may be the source of the disease.

It remains to be seen if this outbreak can be linked to livestock movements or has been incubating on the farm.

If this leads to a further cluster of outbreaks in the region the SVC are unlikely to back any exports from the UK in the near future.

The pig market remains quiet with a “short” week ahead due to the August bank holiday. Demand is forecast to improve after the weekend which should lift prices.

The UK AESA is quoted at 95.81p/kg, down by 2.26p (1.58 per pig) on the previous week. Bacon pigs are worth 94-98p/kg with lighter weights between 99p/kg and 105p/kg.

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

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