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The day of reckoning is coming

by 5m Editor
17 August 2007, at 8:13am

UK - Today’s pain will turn into tomorrow’s pleasure — the question is how long is today and how far off is tomorrow?

This morning I have been exchanging information with colleagues in Europe primarily with a view to finding out how well they are communicating the issue of increased costs of production to their meat buyers and what the response is.

Not surprisingly they are communicating well but with non-existent success.

Whilst we were frantically seeking solutions to movement issues to solve the immediate foot and mouth problems, the really big problem with increased costs due to the raw material market slipped down my agenda.

These phone calls with Denmark and Germany have brought home to me the damage that will be done to piglet production across Europe as the finishers in European Union countries decide to sell their grain and leave the pig buildings empty.

The German market is really the key; it has absorbed so many piglets from Denmark and Holland in order to provide meat for Eastern Europe that when it coughs, as it surely is coughing now, the impact on the exporters of piglets in those two countries is extremely serious.

They become forced sellers at whatever price can be achieved, with a consequential knock-on for both small and large German piglet breeders.

The result, my friend from the feed industry tells me, is that the small breeders are stopping and some of the large ones will simply go bankrupt.

He reported one case of a Dutchman’s expansion in the east of Germany. He had grown to some 18,000 sows but he has now lost his weaner market completely.

So today is a real problem. But when the piglet production has stopped there will be a tomorrow for those who can stick the pace and there will come a day of reckoning for the meat-buyers in this country whose protestations about the value of the British product come at a price that will not sustain pig production in this country. - By Ian Campbell NPA

5m Editor