PORK producers are calling on consumers to eat Australian products beyond Christmas Day with fears the end of the festive period could bring further price woes as the industry competes with imported cuts.
Pork is currently on the radar of most consumers due to Christmas but concern is held for the months of January, February and March and producers who may not have finalised contracts.
Earlier this year new, longer lasting imported cooked cuts, including ribs and bellies, looked set to cost the industry $80 million.
Murgon pig farmers Russell and Mandy Bishop consider themselves lucky to have only received a price cut of $1/kg or 25 per cent on their contract for next year.
The family operate Sunnynook Farms where they run 30,000 grower pigs including 13,000 in their own sheds with the remained contracted grow outs.
They breed their pigs themselves in sheds at Mundubbera which house 3600 sows. Each week about 1300 pigs are sold to their Sydney based contractor, B E Campbell, with optimum dress weights of 82kg.
This year is already proving to be a difficult one with failed wheat crops meaning feed costs, which take up 70 per cent of their expenses, will also be up.
Mr Bishop said supply and demand was too finely aligned in their industry to have to compete with imported products.
“Our aim this year is to break even and we are struggling,” he said.
“We are domestic focused industry and supermarkets are profiteering through us. They are buying pork very cheaply and putting it up against beef.”
“The consumption of pork is up but at the moment the trend is the pulled pork and ribs and bellies and some of that is being filled by overseas markets,” Ms Bishop added.
Consumers looking to buy Australian pork can be guaranteed of a local product if it is a fresh chilled product or has the pink Australian Pork logo.
Some labelling allows a product grown overseas but processed in Australia to be classed as Australian. A percentage label should determine this.
Australian Pork are trying to combat the current pricing and imported cuts issue and have been advertising a 622 cooking method, Christmas pork roasts as a centre piece and making an event out of Chinese New Year.
Pork Australia General Manager of Marketing, Peter Haydon, said it was in plentiful supply.
“An additional buy of Australian pork in the January to April period is probably worth more to farmers than an extra purchase of pork in September to October,” he said.