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Buoyant mood at Pig and Poultry Fair

16th May 2018 / By Alistair Driver

There was an upbeat mood on day one of the British Pig & Poultry Fair.

There was standing room only in the popular Forum programme and the trade stands were busy with producers looking to invest in their businesses.

“In a recent survey we discovered that 63% of pig, poultry and egg producers feel positive about their business outlook in the next two years,” said show organiser Alice Bell. 

Pig producers remained in the black throughout 2017 and into 2018, with processors also enjoying profitable times, said Mick Sloyan at AHDB Pork. “That bodes well for the whole supply chain," he said.

”The successful marketing campaign on the healthy attributes of pork fillets and loin had boosted consumer demand, yielding a £6.43 return on every £1 spent, and AHDB has further plans for a TV campaign in September."

Pork producers had done a tremendous job of reducing antibiotic use, slashing it by 28% on 2016 and 53% on 2015, to just 131mg/kg in 2017, said Mr Sloyan. “We are targeting 99mg/kg by 2020 and I’m confident that we can achieve that while maintaining pig health and welfare.”

Speaking at the Pig Outlook forum, NPA senior policy Ed Barker trade deals will be extremely important. “I believe an EU trade deal will come ahead of all others, but the Irish border will define Brexit.”

However, Government demands in the Health and Harmony Paper could leave the industry trying to do too much at one time, with too little resource. “The Government wish list is too much to be able to have it all – there will be a trade-off and we need to have a strong industry voice,” said Mr Barker.

Andrew Saunders from Tulip Foods said it was important to keep focusing on high welfare standards, but not the extent that the industry shoots itself in the foot and opens the doors to cheaper imports. “We need to build transparency in the supply chain and sell our positive story.”

Danny Johnson, head of commercial at ABN, said it was brilliant to see such a positive turnout at the British Pig and Poultry Fair. “Sharing insight and best practice is key to the future of the pig and poultry sectors, so it's great to see so many attendees making the most of the forum sessions, arming themselves with some great knowledge on how to best use innovation and technology.”

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