Peter Crichton’s commentary for November 14, 2014

Hopefully, pig prices have (for the time being) reached a level after a steady decline for much of the year, which started in January with the DAPP (remember that?) at 169.93p compared with its offspring SPP that now stands at 147.07p/kg.

Spot quotes have also tended to level out, with most bacon quotes in or around the 130p/kg mark for one-off spot loads, although sellers of spot pigs on a more regular basis are able to achieve premiums of 4-6p above this level in many cases.

Contract sellers continue to be sheltered from the fragility of the spot market with most SPP/spot-related contracts offering base prices in the region of 146-152p, plus the usual premiums for Red Tractor and Freedom Food.

The euro has thankfully staged a modest rally, trading on Friday worth 79.69p compared with 78.43p a week ago, although this was not enough to lift cull sow prices from their current bargain basement levels, where most quotes remain around the 80-82p mark.

Weaner prices continue to fluctuate, with the AHDB 30kg weaner average improving a shade to £49.25p, but the 7kg weaner price still tumbling and is now quoted at £35.73p.

More uncertainty about finished pig prices after Christmas and the lack of finishing space is continuing to put downward pressure on weaner values, and once again, the AHDB prices include a significant number of contract weaners with their spot companions trading at £2-4/head below these levels.

Feed costs are continuing on a very slight upward track, much to the dismay of pig producers looking to remedy falling finished pig and weaner prices, with ex-farm spot wheat selling at £115.60/t. On the LIFFE futures market, November wheat was traded at £123.20 and next March at £128.50. This increase in price comes on the back of recent HGCA reports of a slight decline in UK wheat and oilseed rape areas planted, and freezing temperatures in the US are also having an effect on the soya bean and maize harvests. Chicago soya bean futures also closed higher on the week, although UK HiPro soya meal prices ex-East Coast store eased a shade to £348/t, with rapemeal also declining by £2/t to £168/t.

And finally, the NPA has come up with another very worthwhile campaign to try and produce a PEDv charter that pig keepers will be asked to sign and will work in a similar way to regional swine dysentery charters under which early notification of this virus might help to control its spread if we’re unlucky enough to be hit by this potential disaster.

> 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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