The best sows were selling at more than £200 per head on Friday at Exeter livestock market, according to Kivells and Husseys.
And many more were over £150, offering some cause for optimism, said auctioneer James Morrish, who sells pigs at both Exeter and Holsworthy.
STRONG SELLING: Auctioneer James Morrish sells pigs at Holsworthy Market.
"We're seeing bigger numbers of adult pigs coming onto the market. Today there were 47 sows.
"By no means did they all go to kill. Some were buying for breeding purposes and their price might not seem too bad.
"Since taking over the auctions in April we've seen a massive increase in numbers coming to auction with prices to match.
"However the future of the industry is very much in the balance."
The sale of pigs was one of the best across the South of England, said Mr Morrish, but the evidence was plain to see of an industry in crisis because of feed prices.
"Where we're really struggling is selling the young pigs, seven or eight weeks old," he explained.
"It's more difficult to find buyers to fatten them up, and I think it's fair to say there is major concern at the future and how bad things might get."
He explained that the difficulties have a long history.
"Over the last few years what you can feed pigs has changed and no longer can you feed them with waste food.
Farmers have to rely on pig cake made largely from cereals such as wheat and barley which have seen major jumps in price over the past three or four years.
"This, added with increased amounts of imported meat being sold by supermarkets in the UK, is undercutting UK suppliers."
Nevertheless he said both his company's auction sites have seen more farmers selling their stock and more butchers looking for locally supplied pork to buy.
"We had four butchers in Exeter and another four different butchers in Holsworthy all looking to buy for their shops.
"So if people really want to support local farmers go to their local butchers, it's as simple as that."
"Farmers and rural folk understand that price is important to many families but if we want to support local agriculture we need to go into the local butchers or farmers markets and ask for locally reared products.
"Better still for those with a bit of land there's nothing nicer than buying a few pigs, going out and rearing your own."
Meat Trade News Daily Supporting British Pig Farmers
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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