Feed prices have soared due to the weather and there could also be issues with fertility.
Pig margins were expected to be ’very tight’ as production costs reached a four year high.
The latest estimates from AHDB showed production costs were at an average of 150p/kg in the second quarter of 2018, with the average pig price of EU spec at 151p/kg.
Rising costs have been particularly driven by feed prices.
Lizzie Wilson, National Pig Association (NPA) policy services officer said she could not see feed prices reducing and there was extra pressure on those with straw based systems.
“We have had a very hot summer. There will be some seasonal infertility issues. It means numbers will be tighter going forward,” she said.
But she could not see prices picking up, with ‘a lot of pigs kicking about’ globally, although the industry would have to wait and see the effects of US trade tensions and African Swine Fever (ASF) in China would have on the international marketplace.
News of ASF reaching Bulgaria also hit markets this week.
She added the sector was good at keeping fixed costs down but the most volatility came from feed prices, which were more difficult to control.
“If you buy forward and you can see a profit then lock it down,” she said.
“Do not sit and wait for profit to get bigger.”
AHDB suggested pig producers had been ‘theoretically in the black’ almost 60 per cent of the time, so Ms Wilson said they would have a buffer for difficult periods.
“It is about planning for the long term rather than the short term,” she added.