Peter Crichton’s commentary for July 24, 2015

Thanks to a marginal improvement in the value of the euro, demand for finished pigs and culls sows was “no worse than last week” which is some small consolation at a time when pig prices are running at such low levels, not only throughout the UK but in much of Europe too.

The latest SPP has hardly changed and now stands at 133.07p, and most spot bacon trades were reflecting contract prices at about this level with reports of deals in the 132p to 134p/kg range and a few coppers extra being paid on the spot market for gilts or lighter weights.

As reported, the euro has staged a slight recovery, trading on Friday worth 70.7p compared with 69.75p a week ago. As a result, cull sow quotes moved up by a penny and traded at or around the 50p/kg mark compared with 94p a year ago.

Unfortunately, cull sow prices have always provided a ready barometer of the overall health (or otherwise) of the EU mainland pigmeat market, and the abundance of meat stocks in cold store in the EU is continuing to put a tin lid on any price recovery for the time being, not helped by the Putin EU import embargo.

Weaner prices continue in the doldrums, with the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm average quoted at £43.84 and 7kg pigs at £33.10, with finishers still preoccupied with harvest and straw carting, as well as looking at the calendar and wondering how good (or bad) finished pig prices will be 12 to 14 weeks hence.

The feed market continues to display some bearish trends with ex-farm, old-crop spot wheat traded about the £112/t mark, and although the futures market has been fairly volatile, at the time of preparing this report November wheat was back a shade to £123/t and January quoted at £125.80/t.

Any sharp rises in grain prices could, however, be the final curtain for some producers who’re already trading in the red.

And finally, it’s good to hear that, providing it actually happens, the Government is planning to set up a single farm inspection body to replace seven different sets of regulators that poke and pry on high-welfare UK pig units, while heaven knows what goes on inside some parts of Europe as far as welfare is concerned.

Apparently, the Government is trying to cut down on red-tape (that will ultimately save it money) and it might also remove the temptation for some of the regulatory bodies to pass their costs on to producers. We’ve heard all this cutting through red-tape stuff before, but let’s hope, on this occasion, something actually happens to benefit and simplify life on the country’s farms. We shall see.

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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