19th Nervous Breakdown

Very much of a ‘stand on’ situation as far as pig prices are concerned.

The SPP nudged higher to the tune of 0.5p and now stands at 163.89p and, when announced today, weekly contribution prices are expected to follow a similar stand on trend, with German prices also holding at current levels.

The spot market remains relatively quiet despite the two ‘short’ weeks ahead but may be helped to some extent by barbecue weather, although it is difficult to see to what extent the current COVID-19 restrictions may have to limit al fresco activities.

Spot prices are generally reflecting the SPP in the 160-165p/kg range.

Cull sow prices have also remained at last week’s levels with a fairly wide range of prices and the majority in and around the 120/kg mark.

The value of the Euro which traded six days ago at 87.85p is little changed at 87.61p today, but from the pig meat import / export point of view the stronger the Euro the better.

30kg weaner prices took a fairly big knock, with the latest AHDB 30kg ex farm average down by £4.13/head to £57.59/head and the 7kg ex-farm average has also eased by 73p to £41.95/head.

Buyers are still remaining cautious over the prospects for finished pig prices in the summer ahead, especially as far as feed costs are concerned which form up to 60% of the cost of producing a pig and any significant rises or falls in feed costs will have an immediate effect on producers’ margins.

Cereal and protein ingredient costs are continuing to react to currency movements with the latest UK feed wheat futures price for May at £164/t and for September £171/t indicating relatively high values for post harvest sellers.

Feed barley traded at £142/t for May and £143/t for September.

Hi-pro soya has remained fairly constant at £340/t for May but easing to £310/t for November – April 2021.

And finally, it is extremely difficult to calculate the overall effect that the current pandemic is having on the UK pig industry and although there is still a strong demand for pig meat from China following their ASF outbreaks, domestic demand remains subdued and this will be a good opportunity for further promotion of UK pig meat including the health benefits from eating ‘proper’ food.

However, in the current climate it is particularly difficult for many in the supply chain including hauliers, producers and processors with a spate of recent abattoir breakdowns also adding to their problems on a day to day basis, which has been added to by the difficulty in finding skilled engineers and other maintenance workers to put things right when they break.

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About The Author

Based in Suffolk, Peter Crichton provides a wide range of valuation, auction and livestock marketing services, as well as supplying the UK pig industry with a wide range of consultancy services covering tenancy, contract advice, pig equipment and herd valuations as well as dispute resolution. For more information visit: www.petercrichton.co.uk