Two government schemes designed to help reduce the severe backlog of pigs on farm have opened for applications today.
Defra's private storage aid and slaughter incentive payment schemes, both announced last month, have launched today (16 November) for farmers in England.
The pig sector has been impacted by numerous challenges, including the pandemic, access to CO2 supplies and a shortage of skilled butchers in processing plants.
This has led to a growing number of pigs backing up on farm and has impacted the capacity of processors to slaughter and process pigs.
Pig prices have also fallen, and without government intervention, the sector fears they could rapidly fall further.
Discussing the new schemes, Defra said the private storage aid scheme will enable processors to store slaughtered pigs for 3-6 months so that they can be preserved safely and processed at a later date.
The application period for this scheme opened today and will close on 2 February 2022, Defra explained.
The other scheme, the slaughter incentive payment scheme, is designed to encourage processors to put on extra kills.
The payment rate for the scheme is set at £3 for every eligible pig, Defra said, with payment made within 28 days of a valid claim being received.
The slaughter incentive payment scheme closes for applications on 20 December, the department confirmed.