September 18, 2023


UK swine industry shows caution despite improved financial prospects



Producers in the UK's swine industry are adopting a cautious stance despite a more optimistic financial outlook driven by improved swine prices and reduced feed costs, Pig World reported.


Hugh Crabtree, vice chairman of the UK National Pig Association, said that there is typically a time lag between producers returning to profitability and renewed investment activity. This delay occurs as financial gaps are filled, which is consistent with past downturns. Many swine supply businesses are still stabilising, although construction companies are seeing some activity in projects that were delayed due to the crisis.


While some farms are gradually increasing their swine numbers, significant herd expansion is not yet on the horizon. There is a cautious approach among farmers who are prioritising their financial security and evaluating the future of the independent sector.


Feed prices have shown improvement, with wheat trading at around GBP 185 (~US$229; GBP 1 = US$1.24) per tonne and barley approximately GBP 175 (~US$216) per tonne. There is ongoing monitoring of Ukraine's grain situation, but it appears the country is managing to export grain effectively.


Producers generally report stable swine health across regions, but there is an increasing concern about swine dysentery cases. The veterinary representative highlighted the importance of communication campaigns to encourage pig keepers to follow protocols and test pigs for PRRS2 to prevent new strains from entering the country.


There is also concern about recent African swine fever (ASF) cases in northern Italy and Sweden and the delays in implementing proper checks on meat imports from the EU. The NPA continues to engage with the government on these issues, urging stricter enforcement of rules and clarity on the regionalisation of exports in case of a UK outbreak.


-      Pig World

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