The Tough Sell

A fairly forgettable week as far as pig trading is concerned, and although the SPP managed to put on 0.56p, now standing at 152.2p, the picture in Europe is of further price reductions, with the influential German producer price easing by another 3 cents to stand at €1.74, which in our money is 155p, but still ahead of the SPP.

Most weekly contribution prices have stood on and remained within the 143-150p range and with pig meat demand reported as fickle numbers are starting to build up and what is really needed would be for consumption levels to be stimulated, but what spot trades there were tended to be in the 145-148p region.

Cull sow prices have also taken another downward step, partly due to many of the Western European countries packing their buckets and spades and going off on holiday and cull sow quotes have generally eased by approximately 2p, not helped by a slight reduction in the value of the euro which traded today worth 89.6p compared with 89.87p a week ago. As a result, most cull sows were traded at up to 100p with the majority in the 96-99p range.

Weaner prices have improved to some extent with the latest AHDB 30kg average up by £2.19 to £54.15 and 7kg rising by 21p to £38.04 and breeders should generally be in the black for weaners sold on contract, but the spot market still remains a fairly chilly environment with grower and pig finisher space still at a premium not helped by some farmers now being occupied with harvest and straw carting, but on the plus side reports are being received of heavy and good quality cereal crops and straw being combined as opposed to the much lower yields we saw in the drought year 12 months ago.

However, as far as feed costs are concerned, the cereal and protein markets are in a slightly more benign place than they have been, with the latest off the combine ex-farm wheat price quoted at £137.50/t (old crop) and feed wheat on the futures market traded at £146/t with barley looking good value at £131/t for September.

Protein prices have eased slightly with Hipro soya traded for the August/October period at £303/t and for November/ April ’20 at £311/t.

And finally, with reports of several large lots of finished pigs being rolled due to lower retail volumes, action needs to be taken now to re-boot and stimulate demand for pig meat across the board and the current situation of over supply seems to be more due to poor demand rather than too many pigs.

Hopefully, the AHDB will step up its promotional campaigns as autumn approaches to ensure we do not have a repeat of what often happens in the run up to the end of the year, when prices lose their way and numbers build up. That is still a little way off yet, so hopefully the UK pig industry glass will remain half full rather than half empty.

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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