British pigs under threat, bosses warn

British pig farmers have called on the supermarkets to up prices after a new report claimed the sustainability of the entire industry is under threat.

Rocketing wheat prices and falling returns have left pig producers facing a “double-dip recession”, according to Chris Lamb, head of marketing for Bpex.

A new Bpex report, ‘The impact of feed costs on the English pig industry’, has shown feed costs up 30% while the deadweight average pig price (DAPP) continues to fall.

“The DAPP is expected to continue falling until January,” said Lamb. “If we’re facing a double-dip recession, then pig farmers are already in it, and wheat prices are not going to come down any time soon.”

Bpex’s report called on the entire pig supply chain to ensure an increase in the DAPP, to support English high-welfare pig production and ensure total supply chain co-operation.

Lamb said: “The key to this thing is getting the DAPP up, and the only way to do that is to get a retail rise, so we need a retailer to be responsible and lead the rest of industry forward in delivering that.

“We're not expecting it to happen tomorrow but this needs to be seriously considered by the retailers if they’re going to support high welfare English pig production.

“Failure to act in the face of this challenge from high feed costs could have a devastating impact on pig production in this country. It’s no exaggeration to say that the sustainability of the English pig industry is at stake.”

He said the last industry campaign, Pigs Are Worth It, was credited with saving a number of producers from going to the wall in 2007/08. “The campaign has a role to play in 2010, because we are still passionate about our industry and firmly believe that Pigs Are Still Worth It.”

To coincide with the launch of the report, Bpex has also launched a new campaign website, www.pigsarestillworthit.co.uk to keep the industry updated on the campaign.

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