Soaring feed and energy costs: Financial woes continue for UK pig farmers

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Image Source
© GettyImages/Image Source

Related tags: swine, energy costs, Defra

The head of the UK’s national pig association (NPA) says the long-running crisis is continuing to take its toll on pig businesses there.

And the NPA chief executive, Lizzie Wilson, is calling again on retailers and consumers to back domestic pig farmers and buy British.

“It is a challenging time for everyone, not just our pig farmers, but what will help is for retailers to continue to support our domestic supply by buying British Red Tractor pork wherever possible, and for shoppers to buy British too.”

Rising pig prices have failed to keep pace with soaring feed and energy costs, reports the association.

Recent figures from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) showed UK pig producers lost, on average, £52/pig ($59/pig), in the second quarter​ of this year, following losses of £59/pig (around $68/pig) in Q1. After seven successive quarters of negative margins, producers have lost, collectively, £600m ($691m) since the autumn of 2020, AHDB estimates.

And the financial woes are continuing through this quarter, said the NPA.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published its agricultural census​ for June, which showed a massive 17% reduction in the English pig breeding herd, which industry data suggests is mirrored on a UK-wide basis and is already being reflected in the number of young pigs coming into the supply chain.

Collaboration for crisis management

James McCulloch, head of feed sector at the UK feed industry representatives, the AIC, said the UK compound animal feed industry recognises the extremely difficult market conditions UK pig farming customers have faced for the past six months. “We strongly support the NPA call for consumers and retailers to support the [British] pig industry.”

It is no secret, he continued, that the feed industry has been directly affected by the challenges in global commodity markets, challenges that have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, particularly the increases in the costs of fuel and fertiliser – both of which are required to produce feed materials. “The AIC is regularly providing information to all parts of government, to ensure the continuity of supply of farm inputs. We continue to encourage pig farmers and their feed suppliers to remain in close contact over the coming months to plan how best to manage this difficult situation,” ​he told us.

Related topics: Markets, Swine, Europe

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