Leading Scottish pig farmer Jamie Wyllie welcomed Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon to the farm yesterday as the sector faces its worst crisis in a generation. The Cabinet Secretary was accompanied by local MSP Paul McLennan on a tour of one of the many high health pig farms run by Mr Wyllie in East Lothian.
The clear message, from Mr Wyllie to politicians, was that pig farms across the country are all operating at a substantial and growing loss. He estimates that losses of around £26 per pig in February 2021 have since worsened to over £56 per pig. Overdrafts are increasing at an alarming rate and several Scottish farmers have already sold sows to cut losses.
The pig sector has seen significant disruption during the Covid pandemic which has affected processing capacity and led to the partial closure of Scotland’s largest pig slaughterhouse at Brechin. Several large retailers have continued to stockpile large volumes of imported pork, undermining domestic production, and the dramatic spike in feed prices in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has dramatically increased the magnitude of current losses. .
Speaking on behalf of NFU Scotland, Mr Wyllie thanked the Cabinet Secretary for the hardship scheme for pigs in Scotland, set up following the closure of Brechin slaughterhouse due to Covid, but called on her to consider additional immediate and direct support to the sector to ensure critical mass. production is preserved. He also called on the Scottish Government to consider an ‘ongoing’ loan scheme to help financially those considering their future in the industry.
Messrs. Craig Wilson yesterday sold 983 first quality and molded sheep to Newton Stewart.
The 749 prime hoggets were worth an average of 242p/kg (+3p) or £110. The highest prices were £123 for a pen from heavyweight Lleyns and 273p/kg for a pen from Beltex. Blackface hoggets sold for £120 for a heavyweight pen, while lightweight hoggets peaked at 264p. The 294 Blackfaces averaged 243p or £107. Cast Sheep remains a strong trade and peaked at £150 for a Texel cross ewe. Blackface ewes sold for £130 for a pen of 11, while Mules topped out at £127.
C&D Auction Marts sold 76 cattle at its cattle sale in Dumfries yesterday. Prime cattle peaked at 270p/kg for a heifer, while steers sold at 228p. Molded cows sold for £1,421 and 196p/kg at 135p on average for dairy types, while beef types peaked at £1,235 and 168p at 145p on average. types. Cast sheep have maintained high rates lately. The heavy ewes (238) sold for £180 and averaged £120, while 199 light ewes peaked at £118 for an average of £90.