By Peter Crichton

DESPITE the recent price increases, UK pig farmers are still producing almost 20p/kg below the latest Signet cost of production break-even figure for a typical breeder finisher.

The latest UK AESA has risen by nearly 2p to stand at 81.61p/kg for the week ending 10 April.

However, based on an average 70kg deadweight pig, if returns stay at current levels, every pig sold will notch up losses of between £12 and £14 per head.

As a result there have been more reports of producers being forced out of the industry, especially in the north of the country where over 5000 sows are now in the hands of receivers.

This will ultimately lead to a further reduction in the weekly kill which now stands at about 280,000 compared with 330,000 at its peak.

But meat traders have pointed out that unless EU pig prices rise across the board there is little hope of a full scale return to profitability in the UK.

Cheap imports, especially of secondary cuts such as shoulders, hands and bellies, continue to undercut the home market.