Global bacon shortage looms as pig farmers cull herds
Published Tuesday, September 25, 2012 8:18AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 25, 2012 11:15PM EDT
If you’re a lover of bacon, sausage or pork chops, you might want to stock your freezers now.
A pork industry trade group in Britain is warning that the world is headed for a pork shortage, all because of a summer of desperately low rain in the U.S.
According to the National Pig Association in Britain, pig farmers in the U.K., who rely on corn and soy exports from the U.S. to feed their animals, are drastically culling their herds in the wake of the drought that destroyed thousands of feed crops across the U.S. corn belt.
The farmers say feed shortages and price increases have simply made it too expensive to keep large pork herds.
The industry group is warning that the pattern of culling herds will almost certainly spread around the world, making a world shortage of pork and bacon next year “unavoidable," they say.
“New data shows the European Union pig herd is declining at a significant rate, and this is a trend that is being mirrored around the world,” the National Pig Association said in a recent news release.
They warn that as farmers reduce their herds this year, pork prices will soar next year as supply dwindles.
“…NPA believes slaughterings could fall by as much as 10 per cent in the second half of next year, which indicates a doubling of the price of European pork and pork products.”
With U.S. hog farmers slaughtering their animals quickly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows estimates that the pork supply next year will drop to the lowest per-capita rate since 1975, Bloomberg News reports.
One of Canada's biggest hog producers, Big Sky Farms, has already felt the squeeze from higher feed prices. Big Sky Farms, based in Humboldt, Sask., which accounts for 40 per cent of Saskatchewan's total hog production, has gone into receivership while it attempts to restructure its debt.