Peter Crichton’s commentary for June 6, 2014

Generally similar prices, although contract pigs with a DAPP link will have moved up slightly following the 0.2p rise in the DAPP, which now stands at 164.5p/kg.

Reports that Karro had eased its weekly price element within its contract price matrix were met with some surprise, but was apparently due to retailer pressure. However, at the time of preparing this report Cranswick, Woodhead and Gills had elected to stand on, and it was hoped Tulip would follow suit.

Spot quotes were a shade firmer in places with 168p available, but reports of better EU mainland pigmeat prices (excluding sows) might help to nudge UK prices slightly higher, although June is normally one of the modest peaks that appears on the annual pig price graph.

The euro remained almost unchanged, trading on Friday worth 81.11p, but sows are still stubbornly remaining at stand-on levels, almost entirely due to the ongoing Russian ban on EU pigmeat imports, which is resulting in a significant stockpile in cold stores because the Eastern Bloc sector used to take large volumes of manufacturing grade sow meat and the sooner normal service is resumed, the better. As a result, most cull sow quotes were around the 90p mark, with an odd copper or two available for large loads.

30kg weaner prices have dipped, with the latest AHDB average of £55.88, compared with £56.53 a week ago, although 7kg values have remained almost static, at an average of £40.82.

Ex-farm feed wheat spot quotes also showing a slightly more bearish trend, with a seven-day average value of £146.4/t, but towards the end of the week, futures prices on the LIFFE market saw some modest gains with July wheat quoted at £147.50/t and November at £143.00/t.

Recent ADAS reports are indicating that most UK winter crops are in good condition, but US soya bean values have firmed due to tighter supplies of old crop in store. The recent arrival of rain in Russia may, however, help to put the lid on any further price rises. This will come as music to the ears of pig farmers, although some traders are suggesting that prices may be fairly close to the bottom . . . but time will tell.

And finally, on the disease front, producers need to remain super-vigilant because if the dreaded porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv) reaches these shores, it will lead to catastrophic mortality levels at a time when the industry needs to be going forwards and not backwards.

It’s a pity that at the recent Pig Fair, the organisers seem to have missed out on the opportunity to have some hard-hitting posters and disinfectant pads at the entrance just to remind the industry as a whole of the possible risks that we might face on this front.

The three words essential for successful and viable pig farming remain health, health and health!

> 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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