By Peter Crichton

AS output from the shrinking UK herd slides, weaner prices have continued to rise with, in a number of cases, good-quality tail-docked 30kg pigs trailing at over 40 per head.

The added mortality caused by PDNS and PMWS is continuing to shorten weaner suppliers according to pig traders.

They attribute the current strong price more to a shortage, other than any long-term confidence in the UK finished-pig market.

Signet has recently published the annual slaughter figures for the 12 months ending in December 2000.

These are provisionally quoted at 235,000 per week, compared with 284,500 for 1999 and 309,000 for 1998.

If the present trend continues and PDNS maintains its spread out of East Anglia into other parts of the country, the forecast is that the Industry could see an average weekly kill of little more than 200,000.

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

farmersfield.co.uk