The value of pigmeat in the UK fell by £186 million in 2015 according to the first estimate of Total Income from Farming (Tiff) released by Defra.
This took the 2015 value of pigmeat down to £1,078 million, a fall which Defra said was “entirely due to the lower price in 2015 compared to 2014”, noting that pigmeat volumes during the year rose by 3.3%.
The reduced 2015 pigmeat value compares with £1,266m in 2014, £1301m in 2013 and £1178m in 2012.
Overall, the total value of output of UK livestock in 2015 was 9.3% lower than in 2014, at £13,006 million, with pigmeat listed as one of the key contributors to the overall decline.
Taking the depressed livestock results alongside lower earnings from crops, vegetables, plants and flowers, the new Tiff figures show a total Income decline of 29% between 2014 and 2015, effectively reducing farmers’ returns by £1,526m.
“These figures are alarming to say the least,” commented NFU chief economist, Gail Soutar. “They remind us that farmers up and down the country and across the majority of sectors are dealing with the impact of devastating cuts in the value of their products.
“Lots of farm businesses find themselves in a loss-making situation and if prices and profitability don’t change, it is not just those farms that are at jeopardy, but our food processing sector, our rural communities and the environment.”
The NFU also said the new Tiff numbers “must serve as a wakeup call to others in the supply chain and government”.