By Peter Crichton
DESPITE a slightly better outlook for the remainder of the year the UK pig industry is still carrying a massive debt burden and very few producers have yet managed to hit break-even levels.
According to Signet, cost of production figures for a typical breeder finisher are still close to 92p/kg deadweight which for most producers translates to an offer price of at least 96p/kg before deductions and grading drops.
Currently the UK AESA remains almost static at 83.59p for the week ended 28 August and is forecast to rise by no more than 1p next week.
To rub salt in the wound the latest farmgate/retail monitor still shows a 327% mark-up. Although this is down from a massive 346% a year earlier when live pig prices crashed it still compares poorly with just 224% in July 1996.
British Pig Industry Support Group (BPISG) members have kept up their assault with claims of excessive profiteering in the retail sector.
With the collapse in sheep prices they will be renewing their efforts to persuade UK supermarkets to give greater support to all domestic livestock producers and are considering linking up with beleaguered sheep and cattle farmers and escalating their programme of protests this autumn.
Many hard pressed farmers feel now that with the party political conference season approaching this would provide them with a new media platform from which to promote the survival of the UK livestock farming industry.
- Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry