Peter Crichton’s commentary for February 7, 2014

Prices are continuing to ease reflecting further falls in the DAPP, which dropped 1.99p and now stands at 165.9p/kg. A patchy spot demand saw a fairly wide range of prices quoted, with farm-assured regular spot sellers able to achieve prices in the 157-162p/kg range, but non-farm assured “one-off” loads of pigs trading at well below this level.

Reports of significant falls in EU mainland pigmeat prices did nothing to help on the home front.

On a more positive note, however, despite all the trials facing the industry at present, supplies of UK pigs still remain on the tight side and this could help on the price front if demand follows its normal seasonal upturn in the weeks ahead.

A rally in the value of the Euro will also help as far as imported pigmeat and cull sow prices are concerned with the Euro trading at 83.04p on Friday, up a penny in its value a week ago.

Cull sows are continuing to suffer from the fallout in connection with the Russian African swine fever related ban on EU pigmeat imports and as a result the two main cull sow abattoirs dropped their bids by 4-5p/kg across the board with most quotes now in the 94-97p/kg range according to load size and spec.

Weaner demand has remained firm reflecting a little more optimism for finished pig prices in the months ahead with the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm weaner average quoted at £56.38/head and 7kg piglets at £41.85/head.

Ex-farm quotes for feed wheat have eased a shade and now stand at about the £149/t mark and LIFFE feed wheat quotes are also showing an easier trend with March traded at £153.80/t and November at £146.50/t.

The main topic among outdoor pig producers has been the Monsoon weather conditions which continue to hit the UK this winter. It’s becoming harder and harder to find landlords prepared to allow outdoor pig units on their land, and everyone involved in the Freedom Food supply chain needs to give more thought as to ways in which outdoor pig production sites can be sustained.

As a result I now have four provisional outdoor pig equipment sale dates booked all stemming from the loss of existing sites with no replacements currently available.

> 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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