Medicine Jar

Pig meat prices have remained on something of a plateau, with very little movement over the past seven days.

The SPP slipped by just 0.06p and now stands at 162.67p and the influential German producer price is holding firm at its recent high of 2.02 EUR.

Weekly contribution prices have also followed the static trend for yet another week, which is a pattern followed since early December within a fairly wide range of prices between 155p-163p. Although domestic demand is described as quiet, some spot bacon trades were reported in the 163p-167p range according to spec.

Cull sow prices have edged up a shade putting on a penny in most cases, due to a falling GBP and stronger Euro which was traded at 87p compared with £86.62 a week earlier, with the result that culls are now trading between 118p-124p in the main. But with numbers relatively tight those prepared to haggle should have no problem clearing their culls.

The weaner market has also remained firm with the latest AHDB 30kg average quoted at £57.99 and 7kg piglets at £42.20 but a shortage of finishing space is continuing to bedevil the industry and to some extent putting a lid on weaner values.

Grain and protein prices are continuing to edge ahead, with UK feed wheat traded for April at £156/t and for September at £164/t. Feed barley traded for April is at £134/t and September at £137/t. UK ex-farm spot feed wheat average price is £146.50.

Proteins have firmed more than a little with Hipro soya deals done for April delivery at £316/t and for November-April 2021 at £306/t.

With feed costs continuing to rise, this will chip away at producers’ margins at a time when they need to be putting all they can in the bank and spending on much-needed updating and modernisation of many pig units, which are now showing their age – like some of us, too!

And finally, on a positive note, reports are indicating that the Chinese may have found an ASF vaccine suitable for commercial production and anything that can keep the threat of ASF at bay has got to be welcomed.

The new live vaccine which has yet to be christened, is referred to in press reports as HL/-18-7GD and could lead to huge benefits to the pig industry throughout the world.

A timetable has yet to be announced for production of the vaccine to commence but if this works, global pork prices could in the longer-term fall and it would be a case of ‘every silver lining has a cloud’.

All they need to do now is to find a cure for Coronavirus which also originated in the Far East. Hope springs eternal.

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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