Scottish pig producers face period of ‘adjustment’

Scottish pig producers face challenging times after the halt in production at Vion’s plant in Broxburn, said Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

According to QMS, the recent cessation of pig slaughtering at Vion’s Hall’s of Broxburn site will result in a period of “adjustment” for the Scottish pig industry.

However, QMS’s head of economics services Stuart Ashworth explained that the industry could take some comfort from an improvement in pig prices of around 1% in the past month, which has put them at about 9% above the price of last year.  

Ashworth said: “This is particularly pleasing when compared to pig producers in the major European pig producing countries who have seen prices slide by about 3% over the same period. This has created a significant turnaround in the position of Scottish prices in contrast to European prices. Scottish prices now stand 8% above the EU average compared to 1% below in mid-October. The down side on this, of course, is that it makes European product more competitive in the UK market.”

Prices, QMS said, have improved at the same time as there has been a modest increase in UK prime slaughter numbers.

Ashworth added: “Some retailers are saying they are recognising the increased cost of feed in their pricing policies. There is also the prospect that the demand for pig meat is improving and that worries over reduced European production in 2013 may be encouraging retailer recognition of a need to secure UK production.”

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