30% of pig businesses to go bust by Christmas

By Peter Crichton

BY Christmas, 30% of all UK pig producers will be forced into receivership, according to Mike Sheldon, chief executive of the National Pig Association.

This shock announcement follows almost two years of negative returns for the industry.

The latest Signet costings point to cost of production figures of over 90o/kg for breeder/finishers, some 15p/kg below banked returns, costing £10 to £12 per pig produced.

The UK AESA for the week ending 16 October has fallen a further .88p to stand at just 78.35p/kg deadweight.

However, there are at long last signs emerging of a drop in the number of pigs still in the system in the UK following announcement of the June 1999 census figures.

These show a 12-month reduction of almost 12% in the size of the total UK breeding herd and progeny pigs down by 9%.

These figures are supported by reports from abattoirs of a fall in the number of slaughter pigs on offer in the weeks ahead.

However, they warn that by early December contract pigs will be pulled forwards to compensate for 2 “short” weeks at the end of the year.

Retailers are also reported to be looking at stocking more UK pigmeat following publicity arising out of the French ban on UK beef.

This is because the partial boycott of French agricultural products in the UK has highlighted the labelling issue and country of origin concerns have become much more focused in the retail sector.

In the meantime sow exporters are working flat out and cull prices continue to fall with deadweight quotes close to 50p/kg which equates to about 30p/kg liveweight, or £60 for the average 200kg sow.

Last weeks reports of a takeover of the Dalgety feed compounding and marketing business by ABN are expected to be confirmed soon according to feed company sources.

All feed compounders are facing rising levels of farmer debt and are being sucked into the liquidity crisis facing the industry.

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

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