Good News from the British Pig Industry

UK - The British pig industry is profitable! That's something we have been looking forward to for some time after many challenging years, said BPEX Director, Mick Sloyan, during a presentation at the British Pig and Poultry Fair this week.
calendar icon 14 May 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

The DAPP is currently at about 143p and edging up. At the same time feed costs have levelled off, said Mr Sloyan. Add all these together and we have a positive margin, averaging something like £4 per pig. The margin fell in the second half of last year but has been rising since January. Though it is positive, it would not take much to see that +£2 a pig flip to -£2.

Not only are we in the black, but we are also seeing improvements in productivity and the trend there is going in the right direction.

Mr Sloyan said: "The number of pigs per sow per year as recorded by Agrosoft has risen over the last year and is averaging more than 22. What is most impressive is that the top 10 per cent are managing 27 pigs per sow per year. The challenge is that this is still behind the best in Europe.

"Now that the industry is doing better, it is the time to press on which is why we are launching the two-tonne sow (2TS) campaign to help the English pig industry compete more effectively."

One of the most pressing issues faced by the industry is climate change and here we have some good news, Mr Sloyan said.

He explained that BPEX launched a Lifecycle Assessment last autumn. Since then, a lot of work has been done to look back at what has been achieved as well as what can be achieved in the future. This work shows that since 2001 there has been an 8.2 per cent reduction in carbon emissions through better performance on farm – and in the next 10 years, a further 17 per cent reduction in carbon emissions is predicted. Based on present trends, by 2020 the industry's environmental impact will have fallen by as much as 30 per cent since 2001 taking into account all environmental burdens. The top 10 per cent of farms will be doing even better. This confirms that 2TS is the right way forward.

This new data and much more will all be incorporated in the pig industry road map due to be launched this Autumn.

Mr Sloyan said: "The next priority is to maintain the price premium we have over our competitors and we are well placed to do this. Much of it comes down to maintaining and increasing the support given by consumers in this country for quality assured product which now comes under the Red Tractor banner. The logo may have changed slightly but it is the same approach, the same standards and the same message: independently audited, Quality Assured whole chain standards.

"At the consumer end of the market the voluntary Code of Practice on labelling was launched at the beginning of the year and things have moved on. A web site aimed directly at consumers will be launched in the coming months: This will give shoppers the information they need to make an informed choice about the pork and pork products they buy," concluded Mr Sloyan.

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