Pig farming: War in Ukraine forces feed costs to rocket – BBC.com


British pig farmers have warned the industry could collapse as feed prices rise sharply as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The countries are two of the biggest suppliers of wheat for animal feed.
Costs have risen by 50% in a week, and the National Pig Association (NPA) has urged retailers to pay more for pork.
Farming Minister Victoria Prentis said: "I have already announced an immediate review of fairness in pig industry supply chains and work is under way."
She added: "This builds on schemes we have introduced to help clear the backlog of pigs, a temporary visa scheme for pork butchers, and conversations with the major banks and retailers to ensure they are showing flexibility to pig farmers at this difficult time."
Farmer Kate Morgan, from Driffield, East Yorkshire, said farmers could not afford the latest increases.
"The war in Ukraine has had a massive impact on grain prices, so all our feed prices have gone up massively," she said.
"I just tried to buy some wheat and I have been quoted £317 a tonne. Before Ukraine went into war, we were looking at about £215 maybe.
"Pig feed is 70% of our costs, so we are getting paid about £1.38 per kilo per pig, but now it will cost well over £2 a kilo to produce."
Industry leaders had already warned of a crisis this year, after 40,000 pigs had to be culled and "thrown away" because of a lack of butchers to process them.
Farmers staged a protest over the shortage outside a government building in York. Brexit and the Covid pandemic have been identified as factors.
Ms Morgan, who farms at Pockthorpe Hall, East Yorkshire, said: "All pig farmers are very close to the edge, a lot have gone out already, maybe 40 independent farmers, which is really sad.
"The problem is we can't just get out of the industry today, we have pigs coming through the system for 12 months. It's devastating, we have got some really tough decisions to make.
"Russia and Ukraine are massive producers of wheat and barley, and with the Black Sea being cut off, it is going to be a problem worldwide."
The NPA is asking all retailers to immediately increase the price they pay for their pork so producers can cover their costs – and retailers can ensure a continued supply of British pork.
Chairman Rob Mutimer said: "Nobody can survive with wheat at £300 per tonne. The situation is now beyond desperate and there is no light at the end of the tunnel."
The association is writing to all retailers to remind them how critical the situation is, and to ask for a greater return for the pork they supply.
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