Imports threaten as pig kill drops

By Peter Crichton

THE latest Defra and National Statistics publication makes grim reading for the UK pig industry.

It shows an average drop of 19.75% in clean pig slaughterings for the first eight months of this year, compared with 12 months earlier.

Sow and boar slaughterings are down by an average of 52%, but this has been greatly distorted due to foot-and-mouth and the loss of exports.

In Europe, most countries are producing at similar or slightly higher levels than a year ago, although slaughterings in the Netherlands have fallen by 26% in the past 12 months.

Imports remain a major threat to the UK, totalling 115,000t for January to June this year, equivalent to 1.5 million live pigs.

The UK is showing the largest annual change in the size of major EU breeding herds, with an annual drop of 6.3% compared with only 0.5% across the EU 15 countries.

Analysts believe that when the cull sow backlog has been cleared the next breeding sow census figure will show a further sharp drop.

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


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