Welsh pig numbers down as costs continue to soar
The number of pigs in Wales has more than halved in a decade as the cost of production continues to soar, according to Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales.
Although latest deadweight pig prices for September show that prices achieved by producers hit 154.8p per kg – 9p higher than the same time last year – it is still below the cost of production which stands at 169p per kg.
“One of the main reasons for this is the high price of feed, which is estimated to account for up to 60 per cent of the total figure,” said John Richards, HCC’s Industry Information Officer.
At the same time, the size of the Welsh pig herd continues to decline. A four per cent drop in numbers to the year ending December 2011 saw the total number of pigs in Wales stand at 25,600.
“This is less than half the number in 2000 when there were 65,200 pigs in Wales,” said Mr Richards.
Supplies from the EU to Britain remained tight through August and September, leading to a rise in British pork prices against the normal seasonal trend. By the week ending September 29th, the price had hit 154.8p per kg, more than 9p per kg higher than a year earlier.
“As in July, the average carcase weight increased marginally at a time of year when weights normally increase,” said Mr Richards. “At 77.9kg, the average carcase weight in August was fractionally higher than the July average, but 1.3kg lower than in August 2011.
“This is probably as a result of producers marketing their pigs earlier than usual as they struggle to break-even due to rising production costs.”
The number of pigs passing through Welsh abattoirs in August was 2,700, 14 per cent fewer than 12 months previously, and the third consecutive month when numbers declined. The total figure for the first eight months, at 23,100 head, is only one per cent lower than for the same period in 2011.
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