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business and a full year contribution from Young’s Animal Feeds. The Group’s pre-tax profit of £5,877,000 was £759,000 or 14.8

per cent up on the previous year. At a pre-tax profit ratio of 2.4 per cent, it’s not the biggest that Wynnstay has ever made but it represents a very satisfactory recover from that of just two years earlier when the ratio fell to two per cent in what were particularly difficult trading conditions.

PIG LOSSES MOUNT The chorus of complaints about low prices and rising feed costs by dairy farmers and free range egg producers has been joined by pig producers. The British Pig Executive (BPEX) has reported that pig producers in England lost £27 million in the last quarter of 2010 as feed costs rose while pig prices fell. The result of this clearly unsustainable concatenation means that producers were losing £21.30 on each pig produced. My own figures suggest that producer prices for pigs peaked in

the second quarter of 2010 at 145.08 pence per kilo. They then fell by almost a penny in the third quarter and by a further 6.6 pence or 4.6 per cent in the fourth quarter. Early indications suggest a further small decline in January 2011. In contrast, average wheat prices in the third quarter of 2010 rose by a third and by a further 23 per cent in the fourth quarter with indications of a further substantial increase as we moved into the first quarter of 2011. In other words, the ratio of pig prices to the cost of feed wheat has declined disastrously since the third quarter of 2010. According to the voluntary DEFRA survey into compound feed

prices pig feeds during the third quarter of 2010, at £224, were £8 or 3.7 per cent higher than in the second quarter of 2010. More than that it is not possible to say because were shall not get any fourth quarter 2010 data on feed prices until April. Incidentally, I think that it is a pity, given the long delay in publishing the results of DEFRA’s voluntary survey of feed prices, that there appears to be no information from the NFU/Farmers Weekly Inputs Price Monitor as far as purchased manufactured feeds are concerned. The only feed ingredient referred to in the January 2011 edition of the monitor was an average £40 for brewers’ grains but I knew that anyway from other sources. It is instructive to compare the producer price for pigs with retail

price data. The Office of National Statistics reported in January this year that pork prices in the shops were, in the last three months of 2010, 3.7 per cent, 5.1 per cent and 8.4 per cent higher than in the same three months of 2009. The latest figure for December 2010 was 6.4 per cent higher than a month earlier. On a slightly more positive note, the EU agreed to open, as from

the beginning of last month, an Aid to Private Storage Scheme (APS) to help the EU pig industry struggling under the double whammy of soaring feed costs and the fallout from the dioxin contamination of feed in Germany which has caused disruption to the supply chain and falls in demand for pigmeat in some parts of the EU. The APS is a payment to processors to cover the cost they incur in storing pigmeat in chillers. The EU measures provide for private storage for periods of ninety, one hundred and twenty or one hundred and fifty days, after which the product must be exported outside the EU. Each application for the aid must involve a minimum of ten tonnes for boned product and fifteen tonnes for

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