THE crisis facing SA’s pig industry continues to deepen, with one of the toughest ever pig auctions held at the Dublin saleyards this week.
Female baconer prices were down by 26 cents a kilogram on the previous week and averaged only $1.84/kg, while males were back 22c/kg, averaging $1.53/kg.
Even more concerning, sow prices topped at a mere $220 for heavy types and $180 for mediums and some could not even be sold.
Sow prices were back by $20 on the previous week for both heavy and medium types.
Dublin auctioneer, and Lower North pig farmer, Garry Tiss said these returns were tough to swallow, especially since pork prices were much higher at the supermarket.
“(Tuesday’s sale) was the worst market I’ve seen in about 20 years,” he said.
“I can’t remember it ever being as bad.”
“To see a good female baconer sell for $1.60/kg, it’s just crazy. Two years ago the same pig would have made $3.40/kg.”
Mr Tiss said while having prices at about $3.40/kg was not sustainable, seeing a drop of almost $2/kg in two years was unbelievable.
He said it was particularly worrying that some pigs could not even be sold on Tuesday.
“No one could buy them, there’s just too many pigs out there at the moment,” he said. “There’s been an increase in sow numbers and producers have become more efficient, so there’s a lot of pigs out there.”
With the tough conditions being felt by producers across the country, Mr Tiss said pigs had been coming into SA from WA, adding further pressure on local prices.
“Productivity has been really high and the demand isn’t compensating for the extra production,” he said.
It was a year ago that the price squeeze on pork really started being felt in SA.
In April 2017 females averaged $2.07/kg at Dublin.
Only a few months earlier, prior to Christmas 2016, they were returning $3.20/kg.
Mr Tiss said APL figures were showing national production was likely to come down in July and he was hopeful this will be the case.
“If it doesn’t happen, God help us, because we can’t keep going on this this, it’s ridiculous,” he said.
“To have male baconers making a top price of $1.53/kg, that would be about $2/kg dressedweight. There’s probably dog meat that’s dearer.”