European MBM bans to follow dioxin scare?

By Peter Crichton

THE dioxin scare continues to rumble on and UK pig producers hope this will continue to keep a firm base to domestic prices.

With added food safety fears following the dioxin issue, reports are emerging that an EU-wide meat-and-bonemeal ban could be called for.

Although there is some doubt in the feed industry that such a ban will become effective throughout the EU, individual member countries may opt for their own controls.

This follows the exclusion of all mammalian products from feedstuffs in the UK in March 1996 at the start of the BSE scare.

The French are expected to lead the way, as far as an absolute ban on meat-and-meal feeding is concerned.

The latest UK AESA for the week ended 26 June has reflected firmer price trends to improve by 0.59p. It stands at 85.74p/kg deadweight, compared with 91.3p a year earlier.

Spot quotes are also holding up well, with most bacon weights in the 86-90p range and lighter weight between 92-96p/kg.

Apart from Malton, although many abattoirs claim they have just enough pigs available from their contract suppliers, it is in the spot market where shortages are emerging.

Livestock auction throughputs have slipped by 15% over the year, and those abattoirs which rely heavily on spot buying are expected to be short of pigs in the months ahead.

Sow slaughterers, too, will feel the effect of a reduction in the size of the UK herd as their throughputs slip.

Some are reported to be looking at encouraging UK producers to switch to heavy pig contracts up to 100kg deadweight to fill the gap, and to keep open their export links with Europe.

For those producers with plenty of fattening space and access to cheap feed ingredients, contracts of this type represent an attractive alternative to selling at a more conventional 70-75 kg deadweight.

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

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