Peter Crichton’s commentary for May 22, 2015

Signs were emerging for the first time for many months on Friday that pigmeat demand may soon match or even exceed supply, writes Peter Crichton, with reports that no pigs have been rolled despite the upcoming short Bank Holiday week ahead, with most of the major plants operating on a full five-day week.

The SPP also appears to have halted its relentless decline since its conception, and is now standing at 131.44p – weekly announced prices have also stayed at similar levels.

As a result spot bidders, who had earlier in the week hinted they might drop their prices, were standing-on, and if the weather become smore settled and some barbeque demand kicks in, not only in the UK but across northern Europe, this could have a positive effect as far as prices are concerned.

However, it’s still worth remembering that when the SPP was launched last April it stood at 162.93p, so we’re now 31.5p/kg deadweight below that level, which works out at £23.60 less for a 75kg deadweight bacon pig. At least the glass-half-full sector will get some comfort from the fact that spot wheat at that stage was trading at £147/t ex-farm.

The euro, on the other hand, continues to do its worst to keep our cull sow trade on the floor and prices are, once again, being quoted at stand-on levels, with most bids between 55p and 58p/kg and the euro trading at a wretched 71.06p on Friday afternoon.

Cereal prices have remained under pressure, with ex-farm spot feed wheat quoted at £107/t during the past seven days. July wheat futures prices have worryingly nudged ahead to £114.25/t, but November has eased by a little more than £1/t to £122.85/t.

Demand for weaners remains at similar levels, although one or two more ‘phone calls were received from buyers prepared to take them (at a price). The latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm weaner average has firmed a touch to £44.60/head, but 7kgs have slipped to £33.04/head. However, in both cases, good quality batches of Freedom Food weaners are likely to be worth £2 to £4/head more than this.

And finally, there are further reports that the Russians might be considering a further partial easing of their ban on EU food imports, although at this stage this would only allow Hungary, Greece and Cyprus to resume supplies to this valuable market.

So, no need to start opening the Vodka because there’s a long way to go before volumes recover anywhere near their previous levels, but half a loaf is better than no bread!

> 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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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