Pork has beefed up the market.
Pork has beefed up the market. Contributed

Pork beefs up market off back of rising beef prices

PIG farmers across the country have reaped the benefits as consumers turn to pork off the back of high beef prices.

Prices are tipped to increase by 10% this year, reflecting the higher consumer demand for pig meat, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences.

As a result, pig meat production is forecast to rise to 393,000 tonnes in the next two years.

Up until late January, beef prices had risen 30.2% on average, pushing pork prices up by 4.8%.

Australian Pork Limited marketing general manager Peter Haydon said the industry's growth was driven by an increase in beef prices on top of a favourable 2015.

"Basically what beef's increased price at farm gate has done has started to push up prices the consumer pays," Mr Haydon said.

"So what it's done is it has accelerated growth we were experiencing anyway."

Prices have risen dramatically since December 2014 and in the five years up to that pork demand was growing about 5% a year. Pork is now growing at twice the rate of the population but retailers haven't passed that price increase on to consumers just yet.

"As pig prices go up people will produce more so we are anticipating there will be a slow increase and slight acceleration in our growth," Mr Haydon said. "Pork does benefit when beef is expensive."