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Future Supply of UK Pork Under Threat

by 5m Editor
2 June 2008, at 11:16am

UK - Figures have shown that sow cullings are up by almost 40% so far this year. These figures have prompted a renewed fear about the future of British pork supplies.


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"The rise in sow cullings can only mean that farmers are reducing their breeding herds because of high feed costs."
BPEX chairman Stewart Houston

The dramatic rise is the result of the continuing financial problems in the sector because of a 70% increase in feed prices that have yet to be matched in the rates processors pay farmers for pigs, reports The Press and Journal.

BPEX, the pig levy board, said weekly cullings were running at more than 4,000, with the total number of sows killed so far this year reaching 102,000, against 77,000 in 2007.

The size of Britain’s pig breeding herd has already halved in the last decade to 436,000 sows, and is predicted to fall to 390,000 by December.

The increased slaughterings could potentially reduce pig availability by 1.012million.

BPEX chairman Stewart Houston said: “The rise in sow cullings can only mean that farmers are reducing their breeding herds because of high feed costs.

Mr Houston said that even if the shortfall in UK production was met from imports, the majority of it would come from production systems that would be illegal in the UK.

BPEX said there were signs of the higher-than-normal culling rates tapering off, suggesting that producers intent on quitting the industry had done so in their droves in the last six months.

View the Press and Journal story by clicking here.

5m Editor