Producers urged to build buffer into system amid ongoing concern over COVID-19 plant closures

Thames Valley Cambac is again urging producers to try and build a buffer into their system, so they can hold a week or more pigs if needed amid further concerns the impact of COVID-19 on plants.

In its latest market report, TVC said this week saw more reports of  UK plant closures due to coronavirus in the wider meat processing area, while the closure of the Tönnies processing plant in Germany, has ‘wreaked havoc’ on the cull sow market.

“It is a constant worry that we could see this within our sector. We reiterate our recent comment that producers are advised to try and build a buffer into their system, so they can hold a week or more pigs if needed,” TVC said.

Demand remains largely unchanged, but some plants took the opportunity to close some days for maintenance. Supply was a touch tighter due to the recent hot weather, which has dented pig growth and led to a general fall in slaughter weights.

Prices generally improved, helped by the increase in the SPP to an all-time high of 164.93p, and increases in a couple of monthly negotiated contract contributions.

“The fresh meat market was quieter than of late, with the poorer weather being blamed. The cull sow market was extremely tough, as the closure of the UK’s main export buyer in Germany wreaked havoc on our market.

“Numbers were limited, and there was a strict quota on numbers. Prices fell 5p and cull boars have little or no value. As this situation will persist for some time, we urge all producers to look carefully at their system to see if any culls can be served again and kept on for another parity.”

There was a mixed picture in Europe, where Belgium and Denmark suffered 5 and 4 eurocent falls respectively, while Spain added 1.3 eurocents. Price quotes in sterling were enhanced also by a stronger Euro that ended the week up 0.06p at 90.57p.

Supplies of both 30kg stores and 7kg weaners continued to be short, but excess fattening accommodation was in short supply as well. “This is the start of the season when spare yard space tends to compete with other agricultural operations and temporary storage,” TVC said.

There was no AHDB quote given for a 30kg store pig and the weighted average for a 7kg weaner fall by £1.43 to £41.57.

European Prices (p/kg.dwt) w/c 28/06/20    Movement on last week

European Av.               141.99                         – 0.91

Belgium                      125.86                         – 4.61

Denmark                     131.26                         – 3.50

France                        146.30                         + 0.10

Germany                     150.35                         + 0.11

Ireland                         149.00                         + 0.11

Holland                        134.96                         + 0.10

Spain                           156.21                         + 1.29

(Ref Weekly Tribune)

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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.