30 August 2002

Pig values fall further

By Andrew Shirley

UK PIG prices have fallen to their lowest level since March 2001, but are expected to pick up this autumn, though profitability is still not guaranteed.

The Adjusted Euro Spec Average slumped to 89.1p/kg for the week ended Aug 17.

Due to the bank holiday an updated figure was not available as farmers weekly went to Press, but Mick Sloyan, manager of the British Pig Executive at the Meat and Livestock Commission, said: "The chances are that it will go even lower."

However, Mr Sloyan predicts a likely improvement, albeit modest, later this year.

"There are some indications that the European price collapse could be short-lived. There should be some recovery here, but still at historically weak levels. It is going to be a hard slog from autumn into the winter."

Independent industry consultant Peter Crichton agrees that things are getting better, but says the overall picture is not bright.

"The gap between European and UK prices is closing. Feed prices are coming down significantly and the effects of PDNS and PMWS are starting to decline in many regions.

"There could be a mini revival, although maybe not enough to push farmers into the black."

Mr Crichton reckons the industry as a whole needs an average price of 94p/kg to break even, without allowing for the impact of pig wasting diseases. "Over the next two years it would really need to average 110p/kg to make up." &#42