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Pig farmers feel the squeeze

With the startling and worrying news that pig famers across the UK are facing the prospect of slaughtering thousands of pigs because they have no means of moving them on to markets, comes the accompanying news that many farmers are considering leaving the pig trade altogether.

Pig farmers across East Anglia are reporting prolonged financial losses, with the first half of 2021 suffering the worst financial situation for pig farmers across a six-month period on record (Source: Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board AHDB).

While a cycle of profit and loss is nothing new to pig farmers, the past few months have seen sustained losses, with producers losing an average of 28p/kg – or £24/pig.

Rising prices on animal feed, labour and fixed costs combined with transport issues and backlogs at processing plants has created the perfect storm for pig famers.

The National Pig Association (NPA) has reported an estimated backlog of 70,000 pigs on farms, growing at rate of 15,000/ week. NPA chief executive Zoe Davies warned that farmers could quit the industry unless the government takes urgent action to alleviate crippling staff shortages in the food chain.

Picture credit: Photo by Kenneth Schipper Veraon Unsplash