Slaughter capacity ‘deteriorates’ as COVID continues to hit plants

Slaughter capacity deteriorated this week as COVID-19 cases affected numerous processing plants, according to Thames Valley Cambac. 

“Subsequently, kills were cut – drastically in some cases, and many hundreds of slaughter pigs remain on farm. The backlog has grown rapidly and is causing serious issues on some units, and some producers are starting to feed ‘holding diets’,” TVC said in its latest market report.

“The uncertainty surrounding the lockdown rules for Christmas is damaging demand, and some retailers are revising orders downwards.”

Not helped by the large fall in the SPP, down 1.29p at 154.05p, prices are easing, while slaughter weights are still increasing, with the latest SPP sample another record high of 88.24kgs and 11.6mm.

“The fresh meat market saw little spark as lockdown seemed to drain any life out of the market. Cull sows had a torrid day with prices back 6p due to continuing turmoil on the continent,” TVC added.

European prices have ‘crashed’ due to continuing plant closures due to Covid and Germany’s loss of export markets due to ASF, with Germany’s price down by 8 eurocents, giving an ‘unwelcome direction to neighbouring markets’. Price quotes in sterling were further compromised by a weaker Euro that ended last week down 0.29p at 89.39p.

Space was the defining criteria for weaners this week as the backlog of slaughter pigs grew. Even regular movements were not immune to disruption.

The few spot trades that were agreed completed at less money. The prices quoted by AHDB saw no quote given for a 30kg store pig, and the weighted average for a 7kg pig rise by 17p to £39.57.

European Prices (p/kg.dwt) w/c 22/11/20    Movement on last week

European Av.                           116.92             -5.29

Belgium                                  82.43               – 9.59

Denmark                                 111.61             – 4.00

France                                    133.46             – 5.54

Germany                                 106.38             – 7.52

Ireland                                     140.35             – 4.04

Holland                                    108.97             – 1.34

Spain                                       135.25             – 5.01

(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.