Swine Fever

Despite further improvements in the global value of pig meat, very little of this seems to have seeped through to the UK pig price where we seem to be living in something of a time warp.

Much to the surprise and puzzlement of many, the SPP actually moved down by 0.06p to stand at 137.67p and most of the weekly contribution prices have either stood on or only gone up by a modest copper. However, when monthly and quarterly contribution prices come up for review these are expected to take a significant step forward, but currently the whole contribution price system is flawed and fails to reflect pig meat price trends which was its original intention.

Very few pigs on the spot market, but those that were have been traded in and around the 140p market according to spec.

German pig prices put on another three cents this week and stand at €1.73, equivalent to 149p/kg in our money. No wonder some producers are seething over the contribution price system which has yet to reflect the fact that some EU mainland prices are now significantly higher than UK values and are calling for a major overhaul of the whole UK pig price system, at a time when producers need every penny they can get to keep solvent.

Cull sow prices have continued to move ahead, with the Euro also improving in value from 85.85p a week ago to 86.5p today and UK cull sow values have increased by a further 3p/kg, with most sows now traded in and around the 90p mark compared to 58p at the start of the year.

Weaner prices saw the latest AHDB 30kg average ease back by 42p to £47.45/head, whereas 7kg piglets rose by 80p to £36.03/head. Further upward movements are expected in weaner values once the SPP wakes up from its slumbers, as most weaner trades are tied to this as an index price and with the prospect of rising global pig meat prices, hopefully this will soon feed in to the UK system.

UK protein prices have held at similar levels, with hi-pro soya meal May-October ’19 traded at £288/t and November- April ’20 a shade firmer at £295/t. May-July’19 rape meal is also static at around the £190/t mark. Spot wheat prices are currently quoted at £169/t and forward prices for September are £145/t but barley for the same month looks a better option at £133/t.

And finally, with China remaining in the pig industry headlines, with news that their current African Swine Fever epidemic has effectively reduced China’s annual pig production level from 680,000 head in 2018 to an estimated 550,000 head this year, which is an overall reduction of 130 million pigs coming onto the Chinese market and continues to provide a boost to global pig meat values, at a time when protein and cereal costs are also in decline partly due to the huge reduction in the size of the Chinese herd.

The ASF spread continues to widen with reports of an outbreak in South Africa and the recent announcement that the US World Pork Expo which normally takes place each June, has been cancelled to avoid potential cross contamination amongst visiting pig farmers.

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About The Author

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