Pig farmers cut production
Dugald Walker, chairman of the NSW Farmers Association pork committee, has said that the industry needs to slice production by 20% to stay feasible.
“I don’t know if it would be accepted but there are too many pig farmers and production is too high,” Walker said. “More people have got to leave and the Government should help the industry restructure,â€ he added.
There were suspicions, according to him that processors had great volumes of imported frozen pork that has been stored, which could hold back the demand and prices for locally produced pork.
APL supplied figures that showed pork imports rose by 48pc over the last year to 190,000 tonnes in 2006-7, while exports dropped by 5pc to 60,261t, well down on the peak of 82,679t achieved in 2002-03.
Meanwhile, average porker prices shot up during the year by 6.2pc to $2.76 per kg and baconer prices by 9.1pc to $2.51/kg, feed grain prices increased by 57.6pc from $177/t in 2005-06 to $279/t in 2006-07.
APL said the high domestic prices drove processors to import pork. Walker added that grain prices are currently around $380/t and had reached $430/t last week.
APL warned that with producer costs “unreasonably” high many producers were likely to become unviable and the industry unsustainable over the medium term.
Continual producer losses would also mean little re-investment in the industry and maintenance and infrastructure would suffer.