Peter Crichton’s commentary for June 12, 2015

The onset of warmer weather seems to have heated up the pig trade to some extent, with the SPP nudging ahead to 131.59p, and this was reflected to some extent in spot pig quotes, which generally traded anywhere between 132p – 134p/kg according to spec.

Weekly contract prices are also continuing to show a slightly firmer trend with Cranswick up a penny to 127p.

The euro ended another relatively quiet week trading on Friday worth 72.35p down from 72.80p a week ago, but despite this, cull sow prices moved ahead by an average of 2p.kg with the result that most quotes were in the 57p – 59p/kg range, and the odd extra penny available for large loads.

Any improvement in the value of cull sows in Europe is to be welcomed as it indicates slightly better overall demand, but values are still more than 35% lower than they were this time last year.

The weaner market continues to suffer from generally indifferent prices, with the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm weaner average quoted at £44.82/head and 7kg also trading at a discount at an average of £33.25/head with producer prices, in some cases, significantly below their cost of production.

There seem to be fewer spot weaner buyers operating today; many have either decided to throw the towel in or are now contractors for third parties, preferring to receive a regular income rather than suffer from the highs and lows of the notoriously volatile pig market.

Although grain prices have shown some improvement in the past couple of weeks, they’ve now gone into reverse with drops of £4 – £6/t and the latest July LIFFE futures feed wheat prices are £116.50/t with November quoted at £124.50/t.

And finally it’s good to hear that Sainsbury’s’ food service customers want British meat and that this retailer has extended its policy of 100% British pork, ham and sausages to its sandwiches and in-store cafeterias.

It is also promoting the use of the Union Flag to food service as well as in store pork products, and if only some of the other big players would follow the same line, this could provide a much needed boost to the hard pressed UK pig industry that, at the moment, is operating at barely breakeven levels and, in some cases, below.

No doubt the NPA will keep the pressure up, and we might see some more retailers taking a greater percentage of UK pigmeat rather than the cheaper foreign alternative . . . . we’ll 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