United Kingdom sow cullings are up by almost 40% so far this year. The severe cutback has prompted a renewed fear about the future of British pork supplies.
The high sow cull rate is a result of the continuing financial problems in the country’s pork industry due to a 70% increase in feed prices. The steep increase in feed prices is yet to be matched in the rates processors pay farmers for hogs, according to The Press and Journal.
BPEX, the pig levy board, said weekly cullings were running at more than 4,000, with the total number of sows slaughtered so far this year reaching 102,000, against 77,000 in 2007. Britain’s pig breeding herd has been cut in half in the last decade to 436,000 sows, and is predicted to fall to 390,000 by December.
BPEX chairman Stewart Houston said: “The rise in sow cullings can only mean that farmers are reducing their breeding herds because of high feed costs. The increased slaughterings could potentially reduce pig availability by 1.012million.