Trouble for second Scots pig producer

01 September 1998

Trouble for second Scots pig producer

ANOTHER major Scottish pig producer plans to slim down its operation to ease the pressure caused by the slump in pig prices.

Maitland Mackie plans to mothball a 350-sow breeding and fattening enterprise. The company has warned that the closure of its piggery is only the first part of a plan to minimise the large losses now being suffered by its operations.

Maitland Mackie is the second Scottish pig producer within two weeks to announce financial problems because of the pig price crash. Arthur Simmers, which went bust last week, had debts of at least £10 million.

Mr Simmers was head of two Aberdeenshire farming companies. He had 16,000 sows, 120,000 rearing pigs, 1619ha (4000 acres) in grain and grass, and a 350-cow dairy herd.

The future of Arthur Simmers 260 employees is uncertain. The ripple effect is already being felt throughout Scotland. Mr Simmers had 50 individual pig units of his own and about 40 contract rearers.

Other farmers are sending lorryloads of prime in-pig breeding sows to slaughter in an effort to avoid bankruptcy as the pig crisis deepens.

Cheale Meats in Essex, one of the biggest cull-sow slaughterers in the country, killed more than 1000 pigs on one day last week, some of them two-thirds through their 16-week gestation period.

Cheale Meats usually slaughters about 5000 pigs each week. Despite the Bank Holiday weekend, it remained open on Saturday morning to because demand has boomed for its slaughtering facilities.

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