Monday, 3 December, 2001
By Peter Crichton
THE CULL-SOW backlog is reported to be almost cleared, with export abattoirs working flat out in the run up to Christmas.
However, prices have failed to reflect last years levels, much to the disappointment of many producers.
Liveweight auction prices a year ago averaged 42p/kg, equivalent to 67p/kg deadweight today.
But current export cull sows are worth 50p/kg deadweight, representing a drop of almost 20/head over the year.
This will cause bankers to look more closely at the viability of some overstretched producers.
The pig Outgoers Scheme has already taken out around 130,000 sow places and, unless deadweight returns rise above 120p/kg, more producers are likely to leave the industry.
Meanwhile, there are calls in the EU for PMWS to become an internationally notifiable disease.
Although there are no signs that this would entitle PMWS herds to compensation, it could lead to the imposition of certain criteria on trading potentially infected animals and animal products.
However, the latest sero-therapy update on a test herd in East Anglia has indicated good results.
And, providing there are no last-minute foot-and-mouth outbreaks, the lifting of the last remaining infected area in the country on 28 November flags up hopes of a return to normal for the UK pig industry.
- Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry