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More NPA interviews as media coverage of pig industry situation continues

16th Feb 2021 / By Alistair Driver

The media continues to pick up on the problems facing the pig sector as NPA members and staff spread the word. 

Sophie Hope BBCGloucestershire producer and NPA Pig Industry Group (PIG) member Sophie Hope (pictured during a previous BBC interview) told BBC Radio Gloucestershire this morning that with limited space, the pig backlog is having a detrimental effect on farmers and the welfare of their livestock.

“We actually have to produce our pigs to a certain specification to receive the maximum amount of money, for those pigs,” she said.

“Pig farming is very much a continuous process, there are always younger ones coming up behind, which means we run out of space and obviously this has welfare implications.”

  • You can listen to the feature, which also included comment from the NPA's Charlie Dewhirst HERE (2 hours 39 minutes into the show). 

East Yorkshire producer Anna Longthorp appeared, again alongside Charlie, on BBC Radio 4's PM programme yesterday to explain how the backlog is affecting her farm. 

  • You can listen HERE  (from 21 mins). 

More radio and TV interviews with NPA staff and members are lined up for the next few days.

These are just the latest interviews in a wave of media coverage since the NPA issued a press release about the pig industry 'perfect storm' in January

You can read more HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

Increased restrictions on EU exports combined with the impact of COVID-19 in pork plants on resulting bans on exports to China mean pigs are often staying on farms for longer than would normally be the case.

The NPA estimates there are roughly 100,000 pigs stuck on UK farms at the moment.Average carcase weights under the SPP sample recently topped 90kg for the first time and were nearly 5kg ahead of a year ago in early February.

Falling prices, due in part to low EU prices, and rising feed costs mean producers are running at a loss of approximately 20p/kg at moment, according to AHDB. 

A recent NPA survey showed 86% of producers reported having pigs ‘rolled’ by processors, with 44% saying this was a regular occurrence.

Furthermore, 88% of producers are already or expect to be in a loss-making situation soon, with 84% said this situation was having a negative impact on mental health.

The NPA recently organised a Government-industry roundtable, hosted by Farming Minister Victoria Prentis, to discuss the situation.