Average farm business income is forecast to have fallen 20 percent on specialist pig farms over the year March 2011 to February 2012, according to Defra's farm business income forecasts. This not unexpected fall follows a drop in income over the previous 12 months of 59 percent. The March 2011-February 2012 fall has occurred despite an increase in livestock output, driven by firmer prices for finished pigs.
Feed costs, which account for over half of input costs on pig farms, continued to increase in 2011 as a result of higher cereal prices.
At current prices the Defra report sees specialist pig farm business income (or net profit) fall to £35,500 in 2011-2012 from £44,500 in the previous 12 months and £75,500 in the 12 months before that (2009-2010).
But the Defra forecast comes with a health warning. The figures are subject to a margin of error, reflecting, in particular, the fact that farm income is derived as the relatively small difference between total output and total input, so that small percentage changes in either of these amounts tend to result in large percentage changes in income.
It should also be noted that there is a wide range in income across farms around the average figures, within each year.
Defra's forecast farm business income is based on information available in early January 2011 for prices, animal populations and marketings, and is intended as a broad indication of how income for farm types will has moved in the current 12 months, compared with 2010-11.
January 2012/ NPA/ United Kingdom.