Peter Crichton’s commentary for March 28, 2014

Prices are continuing to move ahead, and although the DAPP only put on 0.3p this week to stand at 162.86p, spot prices were within the 167-169p/kg range, with the result that most spot pigs were traded at or around the equivalent of DAPP plus 5p.

With contract buyers taking full numbers of pigs, it was inevitable that spot buyers would have to come out at a higher level to compete, although some processors were commenting that retail buyers are still playing hardball and it’s very difficult to get much, if any, more money into the product.

Although the euro dropped by 1.2% during the week to trade at 82.66p on Friday, cull sow quotes held firm within a narrow 97-100p range, but could rise soon.

Weaner prices, however, continue to reflect a general shortage of pigs in the system, some of which has been caused by higher mortality levels during the dank wet weather conditions that affected much of the country and also led to a rise in pneumonia levels.

The latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm weaner average has risen to £56.77/head, which is music to the ears of weaner producers for the time being, even though the 7kg price has eased slightly to £40.85/head.

Rising feed prices are continuing to nibble away at producers’ margins with ex-farm feed wheat traded at £168.40/t and May wheat at £167.20/t on the LIFFE exchange. November is currently quoted at £158/t, but these prices are still well below levels a year ago when feed wheat was close to £200/t.

And finally, BPEX have announced a new system of historical price reporting which will be called the GB Standard Pig Price (GB SPP).

Data will be collected from a wide ranging processor sample to calculate the average weekly price for standard commercial pigs, but will exclude those with specific genetic or production systems such a Freedom Food.

The first GB SPP will be available on April 16.

The AHDB will also publish a GB All Pigs Price (GB APP), details of which were also announced recently, which should provide a benchmark for the overall pig market.

> 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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