EU disease fears expected to boost pig prices

The UK pigmeat market may soon feel the effects of the Scotland’s recently confirmed case of H5N1 Avian Flu and further Swine Fever outbreaks in Germany.

If Avian Flu spreads further in the UK consumers could start switching from poultry meat to pork, which is selling at barely breakeven levels and 5% lower than a year ago.

Evidence of the wider spread of Swine Fever in Germany was confirmed by new outbreaks in the North Rhine region, one of which occurred outside the existing surveillance zone.

All pigs on the affected farm have been destroyed and live pig movement restrictions have been imposed on holdings in North-Rhine Westphalia

Live pig exports from any part of Germany have also been banned and other EU member states may not send pigs to slaughter houses within the affected region.

These restrictions will remain in place until 15 May, disrupting cull sow and heavy pig slaughtering.

The last major CSF outbreak in the EU occurred in Holland in 1997 and led to soaring pig prices benefiting UK producers.

The latest German CSF outbreak is leading to wide fluctions within Europe.

French prices have dropped back by almost 7p/kg, Danish quotes are holding at similar levels, but the German market has risen by 3p/kg indicating a tightening of live pig supplies.

But the whole EU market could be hit if movement restrictions are lifted after 15 May, releasing a large number of overweight pigs onto the early summer market.

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