Abundant pigs and pork in Australia could lead to culling of swine if farmers can’t find an outlet for their animals, reported the Weekly Times, an Australian rural news outlet. Some Australian farmers have had hundreds of their pigs turned away from abattoirs.
Several factors have contributed to create this overabundance, according to Weekly Times sources. Chinese New Year pork demand was lower than expected, while a fire in a Queensland boning plant slowed processing. At the same time, pig production increased 14 percent in January 2017 compared to January 2016.
Pork beats beef in Australia
However, domestic consumption remained strong. Pig climbed to take beef’s spot as the second most consumed meat in Australia, according to an Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics report. Australians eat 27.9 kilograms of pig meat per year on average. Chicken ranked first with an average yearly consumption of 45.3 kilograms.
That pork that Australians eat more of now costs them less. Pork and other pig product prices have been dropping dramatically. The president of the Victorian Farmers Federation pig organization told the Weekly Times that the price had been dropping consistently since mid-January. He believed that the market price was now near the cost of production. In just one week the price dropped 20 cents, he said.
Farmers fear pigs could be destroyed unnecessarily as farmgate prices for pork go into “free fall”.
Victorian Farmers Federation pig group president John Bourke said an oversupply of pork meant abattoirs were limiting the number of pigs they would process.