Friday, 20 March, 1998

By Peter Crichton

INCREASED consumer concern over animal welfare appears to be putting the pressure on supermarkets to stop sourcing pigmeat from abroad.

Industry insiders say some of the major retailers are unhappy buying foreign pigmeat unless animal welfare status and feed ingredients can be verified.

This concern has already been voiced by some UK feed compounders who maintain that foreign pig producers are including meat and bone meal in their rations.

On the feed cost front the further strengthening of Sterling – which now stands at a record nine-year high of 3.05DM against the Deutschmark – has led to more falls in the price of cereals and straights.

Ex-farm quotations for barley and wheat off the combine this harvest have fallen to £70/ tonne and £67/ tonne respectively. High protein soya prices are as low as £174 per tonne.

Feed industry analysts advise farmers to continue to buy spot supplies on a month to month basis rather than agree long-term prices at present. They say buyers should maintain this pattern while the Pound remains at high levels.

The prospect of a bought-in finishing compound costing £120/ tonne is now a reality for the average ration mix. Home mixers will be able to do even better than this, especially where they use high cereal inclusion rates.

Nutritionists warn, however, of the need to maintain high energy levels until the spring is well and truly here. Producers should avoid sacrificing rations at the expense of herd performance.

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