As more than 10,000 pigs have already been culled, a new off-farm cull and render service has been announced.

AHDB’s Pork Board has agreed to fund a dedicated off-farm cull and render service as a backstop for producers who are struggling with a backlog of pigs on-farm.

It says it is setting up the plant which will have capacity for 2,000–3,000 mature pigs per week.

The crisis of backed up pigs has largely been caused by a shortage of skilled butchers in abattoirs.

Setting up the facility will cost up to £20,000, which will be funded by the pork levy.

The plant will make an operating charge per pig to the producer – a commercial arrangement between the two parties.

The facility will be opened as soon as possible.

AHDB divisional director of engagement, Will Jackson, said: “The provision of a cull and render service in an established abattoir will offer farmers who cannot sell their pigs, at any price, for processing into the food chain a way to minimise the impact of the situation.

“The challenges being placed on the pork sector right now are extremely concerning and AHDB is working with the government and industry to address the issues and try to find solutions that help our levy payers.”

As well as the cull and render service, a one-month levy holiday in November has been announced, aimed at helping to ease the financial burden faced by levy payers.