High hopes for pig firm merger

PIG INDUSTRY leaders have welcomed the merger between Tulip, Danish Crown‘s UK subsidiary, and Flagship Foods, which was announced last month.

The takeover is subject to competition clearance by the European Commission but industry sources believe Danish involvement will benefit the pig farming, processing and marketing sectors alike.

Stewart Houston, chairman of the British Pig Executive, has already met Tulip chairman Carsten Jakobsen, and claims that the Danes are committed to British breeding and production systems. 

In his view the new group would be more positive than negative to the marketplace.

The first Danish pig co-operative was set up in 1847 and they have a long history of vertical co-operation and integration.

The UK currently accounts for 19% of Danish pig meat exports and it is their second largest market after Germany.

The Danish influence is also likely to lead to a rise in carcass weights and greater use of the AutoFom grading system with a higher carcass yield of saleable meat.

The GB average killing out percentage of 73.6% lags behind the Danish figure of 76.2%.

Although UK carcass weights quoted by the Meat and Livestock Commission now average 77kg, this is well below the 87.38kg average in the big six EU pig production countries.

With falling feed costs a Danish-led move to heavier carcass weights would allow UK producers to maximise their returns.