The NPA has called on George Eustice to support its calls for processors to accept ‘distressed kills’ of pigs on a liveweight basis to avert a catastrophic collapse of the Standard Pig Price (SPP).
In a letter to the Defra Secretary, NPA chairman Rob Mutimer calls on Mr Eustice to take action to ensure the Government’s pig industry support package, announced in October, delivers on its key aim of easing the pig backlog on farms, rather than further damaging producers as it has the potential to do.
Mr Mutimer pointed out how the ‘distressed loads’ of heavy pigs processors have been taking from farmers at around 50% of their market value, are being fed into the SPP reporting mechanism, which is crashing prices even further. This has happened three times in the past few weeks, with the SPP falling nearly 5p twice and just short of 4p once.
The NPA has warned that if one processor, encouraged by Defra to take additional pigs, does so on this basis once a week, SPP will be around £1.17/kg by Christmas – against a current cost of production of £1.80/kg. Farmers will soon run out of cash to feed their pigs, Mr Mutimer said.
“Defra did not stipulate that pigs being taken into either PSA or additional kills be paid on the price that they were originally contracted at, so this may well exacerbate the situation,” he said.
BY ALISTAIR DRIVER / PIG WORLD