Pig farm incomes hit a four-year high

Farm business income on specialist pig farms rose to an average of £65,200 in 2013/14, reaching its highest level since 2009/10, which was also the last time pig farm incomes were higher than the average for all farm types, according to BPEX.

Quoting new figures from Defra, for farms in England, BPEX pointed out that the improvement in profitability on pig farms was largely down to increased output, due to higher pig prices and improved herd productivity.

“Input costs were little changed overall, with higher fixed costs (e.g. labour and rent) offset by lower variable costs,” said BPEX.

The figures also revealed how little benefit specialist pig units receive in terms of central support, compared with other farm types.

“Nearly 80% of farm business income on specialist pig farms came from agricultural operations, compared with just 15% across all types of farm,” said BPEX, adding that this reflected the relatively low income available to pig producers from agri-environment and other support payments. 

Translated into cash terms, that meant specialist pig farms had to make do with just £9,000 from such sources in 2013/14, compared with an “all farms” support average of £28,000.

Income from diversification was also relatively low on specialist pig farms at £4,700, just over half the average across all farms.

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