Pig producers have launched an urgent consultation on the future of their industry, as soaring grain prices push more and more farmers to the brink of quitting.
“The speed and severity of feed cost increases has stunned and terrified British pig producers,” said the National Pig Association on its website as it went live with a survey asking pig producers about their “short-term intentions”.
The survey poses a range of hard-hitting questions, including “how long can you stay in production if pig prices and feed costs stay as they are?” and “what percentage of your pig business overdraft is being used?”
The results of the survey, which are expected to be in over the coming weeks, will be used by pig marketing groups - which account for about 70% of pigs slaughtered in the UK - as well as bodies such as the NPA and Bpex and processors to start discussions with retailers and foodservice operators about how to move forward productively and sustainably.
This would involve paying higher prices to producers and stimulating demand for pork among consumers, a note accompanying the survey suggested.
The survey comes as feed wheat prices have risen dramatically in response to weather concerns in key growing regions.
Futures markets currently put the price of wheat near the £200/tonne mark for the next three quarters, meaning producers could be losing as much as £18 per pig they produce.