By Peter Crichton
AS the UK pig herd has declined in size, weaner supplies have become tight.
Stocks are scarce and prices are being pushed over the 40 mark for 30kg pigs in some parts of the country.
Even if we see a slight decline in finished pig prices, weaners are forecast to remain firm because of the lack of numbers available.
This shortage has been exaggerated by the scourge of PDNS and PMWS, which have spread beyond East Anglia and are hitting producers in many other parts of the country.
Although mortality is generally in the 15-30% bracket, some producers are seeing it as high as 50% in the vulnerable 5-12-week-old range.
Concern over the virus has even lead some breeders to apply to leave the industry under the Pig Outgoers Scheme, for which applications will close on 02 March.
If the virus continues to spread, this could knock up to 10% off the national kill, equivalent to over 25,000 pigs per week.
- Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry