Positive outlook for pig producers

A pig industry adviser has claimed the industry is now in a better state of health than it has been for many years.

Adviser Peter Crichton, who won last year’s National Pig Association Chris Brant Award, told Radio 4 that the future was looking bright.

“The UK pig industry at the moment is in a better state of health than it has been for many years, because of the reduced gap between feed and pig prices,” Crichton explained.

He further urged bankers to look more favourably upon farmers interested to invest in the pig industry.

“We need bankers to take a more enlightened view of contractors, as well as independent producers, who wish to expand by building permanent finishing facilities on their units, which, in some cases, can also be used for other purposes if pig production were to go out of favour,” he said.

However, he pointed to the shortage of housing for finishers and stated: “The problem is that quite a lot of diversification schemes have taken place with business units, barn conversions and so on, and this has reduced finisher space.”

He explained that there had been a lack of investment due to the past unprofitable years, particularly since 1996-1997.

Additionally, Crichton added that contract breeding and finishing could protect pig-keepers from sharp falls occurring in pig prices, providing them with a stable income.