Herds culled as feed prices rise

The BBC and several newspapers are reporting that food prices are set to rise because farmers are culling their pig and cattle herds in the wake of rocketing livestock feed prices.

The media emphasis is that the contraction in herds and the resulting meat shortages will “hit consumers’ pockets”, sidestepping the fact that consumers are a driving factor in the cull.

Consumers demand low prices. They expect prices to fall year on year. Supermarkets compete hard to maintain market share so they keep prices artificially low and push the burden back to processors who pass it back to farmers.

Farmers face rocketing input costs, particularly feedstuffs and fuel, but can’t recoup those costs because the price they receive for their cattle and pigs is far too low.

Even the biggest, most efficient industrial farms are finding it difficult to break even, much less make a profit. As a result, they’re cutting their losses and culling their herds, which will mean an initial dip in prices followed by restrictions in supply and rising prices.

It’s happened to us on the croft and it’s happening all the way up the scale. If consumers won’t pay a fair price that covers the costs of production, then they will have either have to go without or pay more for an increasingly scarce product.

The mass slaughter of millions of farm animals across the world is expected to push food prices to their highest ever levels.

As well as hitting consumers pockets, the predicted 14% jump in food prices will also dash the Bank of Englands hopes of pushing inflation down to 2% by next year.

Farmers across the world have begun a mass slaughter of their pig and cattle herds because they cannot afford the cost of feed, which has soared following the worst US drought in living memory, according to a report published on Wednesday.

via Mass slaughter of farm animals set to push food prices up 14% | Business | The Guardian.

8 Responses to “Herds culled as feed prices rise”

  1. It’s one way of making us a) eat less meat and b) waste much less – e.g. someone who said they buy a whole chicken, eat the breast meat and throw the legs away!!!

  2. No sign of a shortage here, but of course we ask a sustainable price…

  3. We in the Western world have it too easy and the wastage of food is huge here in Australia as well.

  4. Can’t believe people can afford to waste so much. I remember hearing somebody say once “who boils bones up for stock these days?” Well I do for one! Supermarkets have made people lazy and dependent. Maybe that is the plan………………

    • We boil bones for stock, too.Then put the bones in the bio-digester under the apple trees.

      If we’re having chicken, we usually start by roasting it and eating the wings and lower legs with vegetables. The thighs go into sandwiches for lunches two days. The breast meat goes into a soup or curry for tea over two days. The bones go into a pot with carrots, onions and celery, plus herbs, and are simmered for several hours to make stock. The stock usually makes enough soup for another three or four meals. In all, we get 8-10 meals out of one chicken.

      We’ve just finished a lentil, mushroom and bacon soup. It provided our tea for three nights and my lunch once, but only had four rashers of bacon in it. It was delicious, thrifty and definitely not wasteful.

      But when I walk or cycle through the nearby village on bin day, I see huge amounts of what should have been useable food bulging out the top of wheelie bins, including items like chickens with the favourite pieces cut away and the rest discarded. Or joints of beef, lamb or pork with just a few slices taken off. Not to mention the unopened packets of fruit and veg, half bags of bread and more.

      Even if people don’t give a stuff about wasting food, why can’t they see that they’re throwing money in the bin? If a supermarket roast chicken cost them something like £5 and they throw three-quarters of it away, that’s £3.75 tossed in the bin. Some bins have upwards of £40 sitting in the top of them and even more buried inside. Would people have the same attitude if they were going outside and filling their bins with £10 notes?

  5. Do you really rummage through bins for this info, locals must think you’re hungry

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