UK pig industry profitable again after two years of losses

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Nicola Ferrari
© GettyImages/Nicola Ferrari

Related tags losses profitable pig farming

The latest industry data in relation to the business of UK pig farming shows that producers are profitable again after two challenging years.

On average, pig farmers made a profit of £22/head (US$28/head) between April and June. The UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) described the gain as “a welcome uplift following months of negative margins.”

Pig prices rose throughout Q2 2023. And feed costs fell ​from the first quarter of 2023 whereby they accounted for an estimated 63% of total costs in Q3 2023, the lowest percentage of feed inputs as total costs since Q3 2020, said that organization.

However, the AHDB noted that interest rates continued to rise in Q2 2023 which put pressure on costs associated with buildings, mortgages, and any related finance.

Feed costs rose rapidly since the exit of Russia from the Black Sea Grain Deal in mid-July, although they have declined again, with November feed wheat at £196/ton today, after hitting around £215/ton in late-July, said the UK's National Pig Association (NPA).

ahdb pig farmers profit
UK pig farmers back in profit after 10 successive quarters of losses

Pig meat output 

Further data from Defra shows that, in June, the UK produced 74,700 tons of pig meat​.

“This is a 7% decline in volume from May and down 11% compared to June 2022. The decline in production has been driven by reduced numbers of clean pigs slaughtered which stood at 813,700 head for the month, down 6% and 11% on the previous month and year, respectively.”

UK pork trade

Total pork imports​ for the month of May came in at 68,600 tons. This was an increase of nearly 9,300 tons (16%) from April’s levels, reported the AHDB. “Lower availability in the domestic market has been the driving factor behind increased imports.”

The main source for UK imports in May was Denmark, at 14,100 tons, an increase of 3,000 tons from April’s levels. This was followed by imports from Germany and the Netherlands at 13,300 tons and 12,200 tons, respectively.

UK pork exports totalled 24,000 tons for the month of May, a fall of 1,000 tons (4%) compared to April levels. Export volumes declined by 12,000 tons (33%) compared to May 2022 levels.

Related topics Markets Swine Europe

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