AS the drive to increase the number of pig producers in Wales continues, there's good news for those who have made the move or are contemplating it.

Pig prices have been steadily increasing and experts forecast the trend is set to continue as the global and domestic market looks strong.

In this year’s mid-year review – 'The outlook for the pig sector', pig industry analyst Mick Sloyan said that the worst seemed to be over and the prospect of improved market conditions, prices and possible reductions in input costs was a welcome prospect.

“The good news is that the pig price in this country has been steadily increasing over the spring and early summer. This was undoubtedly helped by the rising EU market, which still provides half the pork and pork products eaten in the UK," he said.

“British pork has managed to maintain a price premium albeit at a reduced level from last year. Nevertheless it is holding at about 10p-15p/kg.”

Pig producers across the UK have faced a tough year with the Covid-19 pandemic and they have overcome and tackled numerous challenges with pig prices falling and soaring feed costs as well as some farmers experiencing backlogs of pigs on farm earlier in the year.

However, Mick Sloyan said that the impact of Covid-19 on the pork market in Wales had been generally positive as consumers have increased retail buying to replace food service.

This has helped to increase demand for locally produced pork and pork products rather than imports, which have traditionally dominated the food service market.

“Consumer research indicates that socialising at home could remain popular even as normality returns which could benefit retail sales and local produced food.”

Kyle Holford, from Forest Coalpit farm, Abergavenny, owner of an award- winning business for producing high quality pork said that he felt that the positive trend of consumers buying local meat was here to stay.

A former sound engineer, Kyle and his partner Lauren moved from London to Abergavenny in 2014 with the aim of making a living off the land. Despite having no agricultural experience, they now run a thriving enterprise selling award-winning free-range pork.

His herd of 25 large black sows are farrowed and finishing outdoors in woodland and on pasture, which enables them to forage, root and express their natural behaviours, which Kyle believes contributes to the brands USP and ultimately high quality, great tasting meat.

The couple opened an on-farm butchery unit in 2017 which enabled them to process their own meat which is then sold direct to local butchers, restaurants and the public. Customers also include top London chefs and butchers.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the business had to adapt and increased their sales of meat boxes with chops, sausages and bacon sold direct to customers.

Kyle added: “There is a feeling of positivity, at the moment we have retained the customers and additional contacts that we gained during lockdown and I feel that we have learned some lessons and as we look to the future there is some positivity.”

Feedback from the sector in Wales suggest a mixed bag for the first half of the year, with many producers that supply their local markets, often with small to medium sized herds fairing particularly well from the buoyant local market conditions.

“Despite high feed and straw costs, some businesses are reported to be in a good position from what has been for many, a challenging first six months of the year, Mick Sloyan added.

Melanie Cargill, Menter Moch Cymru project manager said: “The mid-year review has been quite positive considering all the challenges that have been tackled by pig producers. The report is welcomed and the prospect of improved market conditions, prices and possible reductions in input costs is a prospect that we all welcome.”

Contact the Menter Moch Cymru team to find out how to take advantage of the support and assistance available for pig keepers in Wales. Visit or speak to a member of the team for more information.