By FWi staff

MALTON Bacon Factory is expected to cut its UK kill by several thousand head a week in the New Year, putting pressure on pig prices.

This time last year, the North Yorks factory was killing over 50,000 pigs/week.

Throughput has since halved and trade sources believe the weekly figure could soon fall to just 15,000-20,000 head.

Independent consultant Peter Crichton says that and the announcement that Malton is bringing forward the closure of its Middlesbrough plant could erode the fragile recovery the pig market has made in recent weeks.

Average live auction prices for baconers dropped by 4-6p/kg to 76p/kg last week, although they staged a partial recovery at the beginning of this week.

Maltons contract price this week stood at 103.7p/kg, up 33p/kg on the year.

Imports are rising as a result and with processing targets unlikely to change, they can only increase and could top 50% early in the New Year.

Porcofram Marketing, one of Maltons major suppliers, says it has no notification of kill numbers beyond mid-January.

The companys David Harrison says this is unusual. “My reading is that Malton will be attempting to import more product to replace UK pigs.

“If so, I think they have got their timing wrong. Given the BSE situation in Europe and the strengthening Euro, they might find it difficult to secure product and it wont be any cheaper.”

Pig prices have risen 2-3p/kg in Holland and Denmark in the past two weeks.

farmersfield.co.uk