In this file:
· EU pig prices still falling
· Pig culling starts on 'handful' of farms across country
· Pig farmers' anger as thousands of animals could be culled
EU pig prices still falling
By Bethan Wilkins, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (UK)
5 October 2021
The steady decline in EU pig prices, which began in mid-June, has continued in recent weeks. In the last four weeks, the EU average price has fallen by 4%, with most member states posting a decline. By the week ended 26 September, the average reference price had dropped to €136.08/100kg. The average as now been falling for 15 consecutive weeks and has lost over €30 (18%) in that time. Prices are now back to levels last seen in February, more than €5 below the same week last year, and about €45 below 2019 levels.
Falling prices have been driven by strong supply levels across Europe, while export demand from Asia has weakened and demand within the EU remains difficult to stimulate.
EU prices are currently low by historic standards. The strong Chinese demand that had been offering price support in previous years has weakened, and the outlook for this trade going forward is uncertain. It remains to be seen whether stronger Chinese pork production this year can be maintained, or whether culling due to disease concerns or poor profitability has offered a temporary extra supply boost.
The gap between the EU average reference price and the UK price has remained particularly wide since the end of August. The UK price was generally about €44/100kg higher throughout September, a level not seen since 2015. For some member states, the difference is even larger, including some that are major suppliers of UK pig meat imports. The latest Dutch price is only €118.45/100kg, €62 less than the UK average. EU product is currently particularly price-competitive compared to British pork, and this would be expected to exert further price pressure here.
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Pig culling starts on 'handful' of farms across country
7 October 2021
Culling has started on a 'handful' of pig farms across the country with fears this could become more widespread unless solutions to the crisis are found.
About 600 pigs have been killed on farms already, according to the National Pig Association (NPA) which fears mass culling could be the 'next stage in the process'.
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: "We know of a handful of farmers who have had to cull some pigs - around 600 we are aware of in total.
"As you can imagine this is hugely difficult for the farmers involved and to date none are willing to speak to the press about it."
Some farmers are choosing to use knackermen, the trade body said, as they "just can’t bear to do it themselves and don't want ask their staff to do it".
NPA chairman Rob Mutimer added:
Pig farmers' anger as thousands of animals could be culled
Farmer says it is “criminal” that she faces the prospect of culling animals and dumping them in landfill within weeks while some people are struggling to feed their families.
By Adam Aspinall & Ruth Ovens, Gazette (UK)
7 OCT 2021
Pig farmers have told how the industry is on the brink of disaster unless the Government acts soon.
The Mirror spent the day with Sophie Hope, 36, who runs her own pig farm in Gloucestershire as she warned people like her were at “critical point”.
She said: “This is the perfect storm of Brexit and Covid. Nobody wants to cull their animals but I already know of one farmer that’s culled 1,000 piglets this week and another who is getting out of the business after 50 years.”
Sophie has been running her family farm in Gloucestershire since 2013. They sell about 10,000 finished pigs a year and have about 4,500 pigs on the farm at any one time including sows and piglets.
She said pig farmers will be forced to incinerate thousands of animals unless the Government relaxes visa restrictions on foreign workers soon.
It has been claimed farmers might be forced to cull more than 100,000 animals in the weeks to come, due to a shortage of abattoir workers. Pig farmers are now demanding the Government include butchers on the shortage occupation list as a skilled job so EU workers can save their bacon.
This week Prime Minister Boris Johnson enraged farmers like Sophie when he reportedly said: