Weekly Overview: Will Pig Farmers Suffer in 2016?

ANALYSIS - Continuing our coverage from the UK AHDB 2016 Outlook conference, Jackie Linden reported that 2016 may bring another difficult year for pig producers.
calendar icon 22 February 2016
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With global pig meat output growing faster than demand, pig producers had to manage with lower margins in 2015. With market conditions looking to be similar this year, it looks as if pork producers may be in for another difficult year, said Stephen Howarth, Market Specialist Manager with the AHDB.

However, Mr Howarth did say he sees signs of an EU-led price recovery later this year although he was uncertain about the timing and scale of any upswing.

On a lighter note, Brenda Mullan, Acting Senior Analyst with the AHDB, said there are no signs of a rise in feed prices on the horizon – at least, not yet.

Following three years of good harvests, global stocks of key feed ingredients, wheat, maize (corn) and soybeans have risen.

The same cannot be said for South Africa, however, where the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation has reported that pig feed prices are expected to remain high following the 70 per cent increase in maize prices due to continuing drought conditions.

Pig farmers are trying to maintain the same level of production as in the past but with limited, and increasingly expensive, resources.

In disease news, the UK and US are calling for more to be done on preparing for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

The National Pork Producers Council has urged congressional lawmakers and the Obama administration to make dealing with an outbreak of FMD a priority.

“Improving preparedness for an FMD outbreak through development of an adequate vaccine bank must be a priority,” testified NPPC immediate past president Dr Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Agriculture.

Marking the 15th anniversary of the UK's FMD outbreak, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) emphasised the vital role of vets and veterinary surveillance in protecting the UK from devastating disease outbreaks.

The BVA is marking the anniversary by asking the government to reflect on the vital role of vets and veterinary surveillance after Defra was asked to make a further 15 per cent budget cut in last year’s Autumn Statement (November 2015).

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