Banks meet to discuss slump in pig prices
BANK chiefs met to discuss the pig crisis on Monday, as prices slumped to new lows.
After the talks, the British Banking Association announced it plans to write to farm minister Nick Brown to highlight the situations severity.
NatWests head of agriculture Brian Montgomery, who called the meeting in London, says pig and poultry farmers may be more vulnerable than their arable or dairy counterparts.
Not only do they have fewer opportunities to cut costs but, typically more specialised, they also are less able to look to other enterprises to help the bottom line.
But do not let the creditor position grow too much, he urges. "It is not often the banks that bring the downfall, it is usually the other creditors."
Any big cut in pig numbers could also have knock-on effects on the feed wheat market, with ruminants being big consumers. And this, in turn, could be the trigger to push land values down, adds Mr Montgomery.
Meanwhile at auction marts around the country, average values of 42.21p/kg were seen, down another 4p/kg.
And by mid-week, there was no sign of any upturn. At Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, Wednesdays average was 36.94p/kg.
This followed a fall in the previous week, when values slipped for the first time below the "grim benchmark" of 40p/kg, says auctioneer Peter Wilderspin. "It was very depressed right round the auction ring." *