Scottish Pig Herd Recovering After Abattoir Closure

14 November 2014, at 10:46am

SCOTLAND – Two years of sow herd decline has been halted by improving markets, according to an industry review.

Low prices and closure of a major abattoir at Broxburn pressured numbers before 2013 brought relief to farmers in the form of lower feed costs and higher producer prices, according to Quality Meat Scotland’s annual Review.

“There are some welcome indications that producers are rebuilding herds and investing to take advantage of the better margins achievable,” said QMS chairman Jim McLaren.

But he urged vigilance in the industry against the threat of disease from overseas.

The UK is around 60 per cent self-sufficient in pigmeat, with around 25 per cent of domestic production exported each year, he added.

For this reason, Mr McLaren stressed that the strength of the pound has a “significant influence” on the UK market.

In 2015, numbers are predicted to continue building.

"Though producer prices have now fallen behind year earlier levels again, this has been more than offset by further downwards pressure on feed costs, offering the prospect of some herd expansion this year," said QMS in the review.

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