Weather mixed blessing for UK pig industry

The recent spell of hot weather has been a mixed blessing for the UK pig industry.

Sweltering temperatures throughout much of Europe have suppressed growth rates and reduced the supply of pigs onto the whole EU pig market.

EU producer prices for pigmeat hit the equivalent of 108p/kg, 15% higher than their value in July 2005.

But reduced growth rates have led to a bottleneck of pigs in the system, leading to over crowding and higher mortality on some indoor units.

UK outdoor breeders are also report that conception rates have been hit by the hot weather.

When cooler weather returns, finished pig growth rates may also improve leading to greater numbers of finished pigs hitting the EU market at a time when demand is usually fragile.

Rising cereal costs have added an estimated 3p/kg deadweight (£2/pig) to producers’ costs over the past 12 months.

Although a return to more moderate temperatures will increase the supply of finished pigs hitting the market, better overall productivity and production levels will also boost bottom line returns.