The National Pig Association (NPA) has called on the supply chain and government to ‘do more to support pig producers’ as new data shows how much the industry has contracted over the past 12 months .
New data from smart software company AgroVision shows how the contraction in the pig industry will soon start to affect the supply of pigs. The latest figures confirm significant reductions in the number of sows and weaners entering the system on a weekly basis, compared to last year.
AgroVision recorded 373,000 weanings in April 2022, compared to 482,000 a year earlier, a substantial drop of 23%, continuing a downward trend since the start of the year. The three-month moving average shows a steady and virtually uninterrupted decline, falling from a monthly average of 479,000 in September 2021 to 406,000 in April.
On a services basis, AgroVision expects further declines in weaning numbers in May and June.
Between April and November 2021, the number of sows on UK farms was relatively stable, around 206,000 to 208,000 sows. Figures show there have been seven consecutive months of declines since September, with the rate accelerating since November, including a reduction of 14,000 between February and April.
The number of herds counted also fell from 263 in April 2021 to 221 a year later, still after a steady decline since the fall.
From surplus to lack
The NPA said the data appeared to confirm that when backlogs of hogs on farms are eliminated, the industry will “move rapidly from surplus to shortage”.
He said: “If these numbers are truly reflected nationally, a 20% drop in service and weaned pigs produced could result in a drop of over a million pigs a year passing through our supply chains. . This is at a time when the EU price is also relatively high and EU herds are also shrinking.
“Meanwhile, despite price increases which recently saw SPP exceed 180p/kg for the first time ever, growers continue to lose large sums of money every week as costs soar to reach in average 240p/kg in May.”
More support needed
NPA Chief Executive Zoe Davies said: “The data from AgroVision should send a message to our supply chain and our government about the huge impact this ongoing crisis so far has had on our ability to production, in addition to producers of financial, emotional and animal welfare strains. suffered.
“At a time when food security is in the spotlight, we don’t want to see our production capacity eroded to the point of being almost entirely dependent on imports.
“That is why we continue to call on all links in the supply chain to play their part in driving up prices and on the government to provide appropriate support, so that we can stem this decline in pork production in the UK.”