Peter Crichton’s commentary for March 13, 2015

There was a slightly more optimistic outlook (for once) with some spot buyers prepared to compete for pigs at 130p/kg plus, and contract numbers also readily absorbed as retailers look to fill their shelves for Easter.

Although the SPP has slipped again to 132.73p, this is now almost neck and neck in horse racing terms with spot values.

There needs to be a Stewards’ Enquiry as far as “weekly announced” prices are concerned because with one abattoir submitting a price as low as 120p/kg, and others not much further ahead, we seem to be seeing a return to shout prices in disguise, and this conflicts with earlier undertakings suggesting that weekly announced prices would be “fair”. But with spot pigs selling at over 130p/kg the situation needs to be remedied sooner rather than later to make sure that loyal contract price sellers receive a realistic price.

The euro staged a marginal rally on Friday trading at 71.3p, but this was not enough to prevent further falls in cull sow prices, which were down another 2p to 3p/kg, with most quotes between 56p and 60p/kg.

Weaner values are still under pressure, with the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm average at £44.81/head and 7kg at £33.20/head, but no particularly large numbers of spot weaners are available.

Feed prices continue to move in producers’ favour, with the latest HGCA spot wheat average slipping to £112.80/t, but it’s hard to find sellers at this level.

Futures quotes for near month are also reflecting easier cereal price trends, with March wheat quoted on LIFFE market at £118.75/t and May at £120.75/t, but November looks more expensive at £129.25/t.

And finally, hopes that PEDv might be classified as a notifiable disease are to be encouraged, as this should help the industry to have a better handle on biosecurity controls and a greater chance of preventing its spread to these shores. If, heaven forbid, PEDv hits the UK herd, at least movement and other restrictions may help to limit its lethal spread.

> 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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