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AHDB Pork Blog

Changing times by Bethan Wilkins

Bethan Wilkins, analystI’ve been working as an analyst in AHDB’s Market Intelligence team for over two years now, doesn’t time fly! A lot has changed during this time, both for me and for the pig industry. My knowledge of pigs has certainly expanded, thanks to my colleagues at AHDB, and the pig producers and other professionals I have had the privilege of meeting.

The pig industry has also moved through some interesting times, including the record-breaking profit margins producers experienced in the autumn of 2017. Things have moved on a bit since then, with falling prices and rising feed costs pushing producers back into the red. Uncertainty has also increased over the past couple of years, what with Brexit fast approaching and the increasing global spread of African Swine Fever.

It’s always important for the industry to keep on top of market developments, but this is particularly true during tougher times. We’ve been working hard to prepare content for our weekly newsletter, Pig Market Weekly, and have more planned for the coming months.

I would encourage everyone to engage with our forecasts. The first cross-sector agri-market outlook was published last year, which contains a condensed version of the traditional bi-annual pork outlook we produce. Of course, none of us is psychic, so forecasts can’t be 100% accurate, but they can give a good indication of the market landscape over the coming months. This month, I have been reviewing the forecast from October.

I’ve also been working on more analysis of the African Swine Fever situation in China, to try to shed some light on the potential scale of the market impacts here, and further afield. The implications could be huge for the global pork and wider meat markets in 2019. We’ll also be providing updates on the impact of Brexit, as and when this is possible.

Throughout all of this, I’ve also been thinking of ways in which we can improve the delivery of the key market intelligence messages. Last year, we launched the monthly Pork Talk market update videos, and I’ve been trying to get out and speak to producer groups as much as possible; hopefully, we can build on this further during 2019. The Pig Market Weekly e-newsletter is going to get a bit of a revamp, so look out for that in the coming weeks and, if you don’t currently receive it, why not sign up here?

With so many areas to tackle, I’m looking forward to helping producers, processors and other allied industries make sense of the uncertainty surrounding 2019. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to increase the reach and ease of understanding our key market messages… and I might even start doing some exercise, too!

By AHDB Pork at 29 Jan 2019, 14:59 PM


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