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Pig Producers to Have a Merry Christmas

by 5m Editor
19 December 2008, at 7:13am

AUSTRALIA - Pig producers are set for a merry Christmas, with prices going through the roof in the past two months.

And a further bonus is that input costs are falling, thanks to a glut of feed grain.

This has come not a moment too soon - many producers left the industry in 2007-2008 because of woeful prices, soaring feed costs, and a flood of cheap pork imports.

The low $A is now making imported goods less attractive.

And, with many producers exiting the industry around the world, pork imports have shrunk.

In the major pig producing state of South Australia, price records are being smashed at the Dublin, Adelaide, pig markets.

Stock & Land reports that sows hit a record A$825 at the 2 December market, mostly because of strong local competition.

At the 18 November market, porkers sold to A$3.45 a kilogram, superporkers to A$3.54/kg and baconers to A$3.61/kg.

And the traditional spread between females and males has closed, with the two sexes now fetching similar prices, as supply tightens.

South Australian Farmers' Federation pork committee chairman Butch Moses said the price rise for pig meat in the past two months had been nothing short of extraordinary.

"We are looking forward to feed prices coming back - the drop in prices hasn't flowed through to the industry yet," he said.

"There have only been slight drops in feed costs so far, but we are expecting more to come.

"We are getting extraordinary prices at the moment but most people are asking themselves how long it can last."

Mr Moses said the high prices were needed to help restore confidence in the industry - many producers had been hit badly by low prices and high feed costs in the past two years.

"In the past 2.5 months we've seen huge increase in prices," he said.

"While prices usually go up this time of year, 2008 has definitely been out of the ordinary, particularly with the cull-sow job.

"When you hear of prices like $600 to $800 for sows, when they were as low as $100, it's just phenomenal."

Pig prices traditionally come back from January onwards.

"But with the international shortage of pigmeat, we're hoping prices will stay strong," Mr Moses said.

"While there's still imported material coming in, there's not as much as there was a year ago.

"When feed costs went through the roof last year, even producers in the most productive countries had a hard time and many have now left the industry."

Mr Moses runs 3300 growers at his Salt Lake Bacon farm at Lochiel.