Changes

Better news for UK pig producers with the SPP putting on 0.59p to stand at 147.21p, while European pig prices also took a step forwards, with the influential German producer price rising by 5 Euro cents to stand at 1.42 EUR, which in our currency translates to 124p but is still a long way behind the equivalent UK prices.

Although the spot bacon market remains fairly quiet, buyers were showing a little more interest with bids reported to be in the 150p region and shrewd sellers were able to get a couple of coppers more in places, although pig numbers remain light with most being sold on contract.

Weekly contribution prices have in the main stayed at similar levels and the impending Spring Bank Holiday on May 28 is unlikely to have any significant effect on prices.

Unfortunately, the cull sow market remains at bargain basement levels with reports of EU mainland cold stores being full whilst demand has remained indifferent despite the improvement in the European pig price.

UK cull sow quotes have remained at similar levels in the 60-63p range compared with 102p a year ago not helped by a slightly stronger pound which saw the Euro trading at 87.34p compared with 88.18 last week.

The latest AHDB 30kg weaner ex farm average has taken a tumble dropping by a whopping £5.29/head to £47.50 although 7kg piglets have firmed slightly, rising by 0.26p and now standing at £37.64/head.

A shortage of straw costing over £100 tonne in some regions is putting finishers margins under yet more pressure and, coupled with rising feed costs, is having a negative effect upon weaner values, with large scale finishers taking a fairly cautious approach to weaner procurement in the weeks ahead, which is frustrating bearing in mind the relatively buoyant demand for UK finished pigs at present.

In all sectors of the weaner market however, ‘contract is king’ and those sellers prepared to face the spot market will need strong nerves and an understanding bank manager with a widening gap between spot and contract prices for all weights.

Feed prices are remaining firm with the latest UK ex-farm spot feed wheat price quoted at an average of £150.90/t and protein prices are also holding with Brazilian 48% soya meal quoted ex-Liverpool at £376/t and 34% rape meal ex-Kent at £217/t.

Grain futures prices saw London wheat traded for July delivery at £150.40/t and November at £151.25/t.

Although some global grain futures prices have fallen due to lower US wheat futures following the release of the latest USDA report, looking further ahead, tighter global stocks for key crops are forecast in 2018/19 so there may be some justification for shrewd UK pig producers to take some further forward cover?

And finally, another successful Pig Fair has come and gone and well done to the sponsors, organisers and exhibitors for all the work put in to setting this up.

There might however be some merit in looking at a venue on the eastern side of the country near say, Peterborough/Newark nearer to where the majority of indoor and outdoor pig and poultry sites are located and which would be much more convenient for the majority of the pig and poultry producers and their staff.

The older cattle buildings at Stoneleigh are, like many of us, starting to show their age and it would be interesting to hear what others think (with apologies to those of you from the West Country and the Midlands as well as the AHDB).

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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