Peter Crichton’s commentary for April 4, 2014

Jane Jordan explores the history of Rattlerow Farms, which celebrates its diamond anniversary this year

It was another reasonably positive day for sellers despite the DAPP easing back by a gnat’s whisker to 162.84p, most spot bacon buyers were prepared to operate at firm stand-on levels with, in some cases, an extra copper being available, reflecting the current tight supply/demand balance.

As a result, most contract prices that are tied to the DAPP, and other industry index figures, remained at generally similar levels, but spot bacon was traded between a fairly narrow 167-169p range.

The euro ended the week almost unchanged, worth 82.71p on Friday, but an improvement in its value would work wonders as far as the current pig meat import/export supply situation is concerned.

Cull sow buyers were also operating in a slightly more positive mode with offers anywhere between a relatively positive stand on and +1p, and most deals were hatched in the 98-101p range.

Feed prices have staged a fairly major retreat over the week with spot wheat dropping from £168.40/t to £163.80/t by midweek, and futures markets also had a bearish trend with May 2014 feed wheat quoted on the LIFFE market at £162.25 in November 2014 and £151.

Weaner values have yet to feel the benefit of falling feed prices, with the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm average losing ground and now standing at £55.28/head and the AHDB 7kg weaner average also easing to £40.21/head.

And finally, although the recent African swine fever test turned out to be a false alarm, Cranswick are to be congratulated for drawing further attention to the threat posed by the porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv), which has spread from China across to the United States and Canada.

The company warns that if PEDv reaches Europe, this could be a catastrophe for the whole pig industry and further steps need to be taken on the pig health front, making full use of the Pig Health Improvement Project website, to help identify any biosecurity reinforcements that can be carried out.

Livestock vehicles remain one of the weakest links, and greater attention should be given to the farrow cleaning and disinfection before leaving abattoirs.

Although warmer weather can lead to a downturn in PEDv, the UK is not generally known for enjoying tropical summers!

But it’s good to see that some (but not all) abattoirs are taking a much keener interest in lorry wash improvements and bouquets to those who featured in the recent NPA lorry wash poll, and brickbats to those who didn’t!

> 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

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