Market dominated by the arrival of ASF in Belgium

This week’s Slaughter Pig Marketing Summary from Thames Valley Cambac reported that the market was dominated with discussion about the arrival of ASF in Belgium. This latest outbreak is obviously not through pig to pig contact given the distance from any other incidence of ASF in Europe which makes this even more concerning therefore we must be even more vigilant.

TVC - September 17
There will be the obvious zonal demarcation restricting movement of pigs as a consequence and product from these regions will now not be allowed to be exported to any other country. However, China’s rules are different and once a country has contracted the disease there is a total ban from China receiving and pig meat products from Belgium regardless of whether they are from within the zone or otherwise!

This protocol is extremely disturbing because although the UK’s largest export market is Europe the Chinese market has become extremely important and adds significant value to the UK industry and given China does not accept the zonal restriction rules that the EU does, this would render the arrival of ASF in the UK as catastrophic! Trade wise on clean pigs, another stand on week with supply meeting demand, both of which were uninspiring!

Pig weights have remained stable since the beginning of August and are behind last years at the same time by 1.54kg. Most of this is as a consequence of poorer growth through the heat of the summer but many farms are reporting full pens and needing to keep the weekly sales up for room purposes more than target sale weight being attained.

The SPP (148.05p) now sits at just over 14p below this period last year and with feed prices at least doubling that burden, many producers, are at best on breakeven! The sow trade was poor with demand diminishing bringing downward pressure on prices resulting in circa 3p reduction.

The Weaner Marketing Summary, for week commencing September 16, said that this market has changed very little over recent weeks, very few spot pigs available which is a blessing as buyers, for more than their contract commitment are few and far between. The AHDB 30kg store price was down £1.18 to £53.74 although the 7kg weaner price increased 0.25p to £37.74! These prices are only £4.75 & £6.58 down on the same time last year, which would suggest the finisher has taken more of the main the contracted store and weaner producer which is another reason any spot bids for either is in the low £20’s for weaners and mid £30’s for store pigs.

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About The Author

Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.