Pork prices plunge leaving pig farmers with financial stress.
Pork prices plunge leaving pig farmers with financial stress. Kevin Farmer

Pig trough: farmers struggle with pork price plummet

AUSTRALIAN families are encouraged to eat more pork to help support struggling pig farmers.

Australian Pork Industry general marketing manager Peter Haydon said the group wanted to push the demand for pork so the downturn would end quickly.

"It's the pig farmers who are doing it tough at the moment; if there's one thing Australians can do, it is eat one more pork meal a week," Mr Haydon said.

Pork farmers invested in their facilities, which would be positive for the long term, during a steady price growth up until Christmas 2016, he said.

This increased efficiencies, causing pork supply to get ahead of the demand, he said.

These investments had short-term negative consequences, causing the pig prices to plummet from about $3.76 a kilogram in November 2016, to $2.49 now.

Lack of rain due to drought had also pushed up grain prices, creating a financial nightmare for farmers, Mr Haydon said.

"From an industry perspective, we've been through difficult times before and we'll get through this," he said.

The downturn would be creating emotional stress for business owners, but the pork industry had endured through up to seven-year cycles before, he said.

"Up until October the level of pork available will remain roughly the same as now," Mr Haydon said.

"It may well not be this year you will see any improvements in pricing, as agricultural markets take time to adjust."

Australians today eat on average 3kg more pork per person than they did in 2011, he said.

Demand for Australian pork was not only growing in home-cooked meals, but also in restaurants, cafes and pubs, he said.