News that the census shows no decline in the national pig herd
comes as no surprise to the British Pig Executive.
This is effectively because there was no market for cull
sows last Autumn due to FMD so a huge backlog built up.
The market only re-started at the tail end of 2007.
the latest figures show weekly sow cullings are running
at something like 45% above the level of this time last
year which is indicative of a reduction in the national
EU figures for the same period show a decline
in the breeding herd - in-pig sows and gilts are showing
a 4.5% fall compared with 2006.
BPEX Chief Executive Mick Sloyan said: "The
average increase in UK culling of 1,700 a week this year
equals 36,000 pigs over a typical 21 week cycle.
"If this rate of culling were to continue for six
months that would mean almost a million fewer finished
pigs on the market which in turn would mean much less home-produced
pork and pork products on supermarket shelves.
"The only way of reversing this trend is for producers
to be paid a fair return for their pigs.
"They are at present getting about 113p per kg when
they need something like 140p per kg.
"Retail prices did go up towards the end of last year
but not enough and little if any of that increase has flowed
down the supply chain to the producer."
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NADIS Pig Health Report for January 2008