By Tim Relf
PIGMEAT exports rose to record highs in 1997, despite the strength of sterling.
The volume of fresh and frozen product sent abroad rose 17% last year to 159,000 t, according to the Meat and Livestock Commissions Pig Yearbook.
But the value of such exports fell 5% to £216 million, reflecting the lower prices needed to remain competitive in the face of a strong Pound.
The high-quality status of British product is firing demand, says MLCs Mick Sloyan. “We even managed to send more than 4500 t to Denmark – a little like sending coals to Newcastle.”
With exports now accounting for one-sixth of production, farmers must strive to remain competitive, Mr Sloyan adds.
Over the past five years, pigs reared per litter have increased 0.15 to average 9.69, feed conversion rate between weaning and 88kg has come down from 2.83 to 2.62 (worth £3 an animal) and average carcass weights have risen 2kg to 70kg.