By Peter Crichton
BESIDES the split between contract and non-contract pig prices, the cull sow and manufacturing grade pigmeat situation is another major influence on the profitability of the home market.
The National Pig Association is continuing to press the government for action to either allow cull sow carcass exports to restart on a regional basis in foot-and-mouth “clean” areas or for the EU to accept a market disruption claim.
Any EU agreement to the market disruption argument would pave the way for a slaughter for destruction scheme, which would help to put a bottom into an almost non-existent market.
Cull sows in the UK are still only worth 25p/kg which is almost exactly 35% of their pre foot-and-mouth value.
Stewart Houston of the NPA has been promised the chance of further consultations with the government and DEFRA officials to see if any more progress can be made to ease a reported backlog of over 50,000 sows locked up on farms.
Revisions to the Welfare Disposal Scheme, which could be used to ease the cull sow situation, were due to be discussed at the NPA stakeholders meeting on Friday (29 June).
NPA board members hope that their plight may be linked to a similar situation in the sheep industry, where producers of light export-spec lambs have also lost their markets outside the UK.
The feeling is that if the NFU is successful in obtaining aid for sheep-farmer members, the same level of assistance should be made available to the pig sector.
- Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry
- Some pigs are more equal, FWi, 2 July, 2001
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