UK pig backlog must be cleared ahead of festive period – TVC

The UK backlog of pigs needs to cleared quickly ahead of the looming festive period, according to Thames Valley Cambac.

In its weekly update, TVC said the market remained largely unchanged last week, with processors killing as many pigs as possible, which is generally being governed by capacity within their butchery facilities,

“Saturday kills are being undertaken by some to catch up on lost kill to service increasing retailer demand, although this is being played down, coupled to the fact that demand from China is growing at a not insignificant pace,” it said.

“These flames have been fanned by Germany having to instantly stop shipping East as a consequence of the ASF lockdown, which has provided a huge platform for the rest of the EU including the UK to climb on to.”

“However, the grey cloud is the amount of German product currently not finding a home and reports of pigs now backing up on farms as processors struggle to clear normal kills.”

TVC stressed that the backlog of pigs in the UK as a consequence of plant reliability needs to be cleared within the next three or four weeks as the supply base has ‘one eye’ on the fact there are only 11 full killing weeks left before the short weeks of the festive period.

With Christmas falling awkward for the meat processing sector this year, raising the prospect of only a 50% kill at best during the Christmas week and 70% New Year week, the industry will need to be clearing something in the region of circa 12,000k to 15,000 extra pigs per week from three weeks’ time, it added.

Sows stood on, but there is a growing concern as manufacturers across the EU are ‘imagining a bell wave of product being available shortly as a result of the German issues on clean pigs’, TVC warned.

The Euro ended the week at 90.67p down from the previous week’s close of 91.34p.

Weaner and store prices remained similar, although the potential to move spot batches was hindered again by the log-jam with many slaughter pig movements.

European Prices (p/kg.dwt) w/c 04/10/20   Movement on last week

European Av.                          129.29             -1.41

Belgium                                   100.08             – 3.11

Denmark                                 125.41             – 0.93

France                                     149.28             – 1.87

Germany                                 115.15             – 0.85

Ireland                                     145.98             – 1.08

Holland                                   119.30             – 0.88

Spain                                       152.60             – 1.13

(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.