1 August 1997

Pig prices down

EXPANSION of the UK pig herd is pushing prices down.

Clean pig slaughterings in the first six months of 1997, at 7.33m, were up almost 10% on the first half of 1996.

And forecasts for the third and final quarter of the year suggest the kill then will be 3.61m and 3.85m head. Thats between 3% and 4% up on 12 months earlier.

Herd expansion, together with improved sow productivity and reduced disease levels are behind the figures, according to the Meat and Livestock Commission.

On Monday, the all-pigs average spot price was 82.5p/kg lw. A year earlier it had been more than 106p/kg.

And while supplies are tight on Continental markets in the wake of classical swine fever outbreaks, the UK remains an attractive export destination due to the strong £.

With MAFFs April census showing a 5.8% rise in the number of in-pig sows and gilts, higher slaughter levels are expected to continue until the end of 1998.n