Pig market descends into chaos

28 August 1998

Pig market descends into chaos

THE pig market has lurched from crisis into chaos, reports The Herald.

Bacon traders claim they cannot get enough home-killed product, the price of which has sunk to levels “more commonly associated with poultry”.

The paper reports that producer protests have had an effect on the market, putting pressure on wholesalers to buy home-produced product. But bacon produced in this country is already much dearer and in short supply, says one trader.

Market demand is tending to pull through quality product but at the expense of a surplus of unwanted cuts and grades. The market is witnessing an apparent contradiction between strong demand for premium product and poor returns for producers.

The Herald says the fundamental problem is that UK and Continental pig production cycles have become unsynchronised.

Sow slaughtering increased late in the UK in 1997 as producers began running down herd numbers in response to the weakening price. But on the continent culling had not yet started.

The consequence of this is that “low quality” pigmeat has become a bigger proportion of total output in the UK at the moment than on the Continent. .

The failure of Arthur Simmers pig producing business in Aberdeenshire threatens further havoc in the market if the receivers attempt to unload the stock quickly.

The crisis in the Russian economy could also deal a Europes pigmeat market a further blow if there is a tailing off in demand from that quarter.

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