All the Mad Men

Pig prices are continuing on their upward journey with the SPP up by another 1.23p to stand at 151.74p, although over the water German prices have tended to be at stand on levels with the influential German producer price holding firm at 1.54 EUR.

Weekly contribution prices are continuing to improve but with a very wide gap between the best and the rest and this week’s leader went up by 3p to 158p compared with others as low as 146p, which rather undermines the original function of weekly contribution prices to reflect the market as a whole and to some extent this aim seems to have been kicked into the long grass.

Spot bacon pigs have generally traded at similar levels to last week in the 142p – 145p/kg range, but in school report terms there is plenty of room for improvement,

The value of the Euro has hardly changed trading today worth 85.8p and cull sow prices have also remained virtually static with export abattoir bids mainly between 66p-69p/kg, but a further revival in cull sow values is long overdue.

Weaner prices are continuing to reflect further improvements in the value of the SPP with 7kg RSPCA Assured piglets in the £34-£37.50/head region and Red Tractor 7kg piglets £3-£4/head below this, in the main.

Although feed costs are still well ahead of pig meat values, on the basis that half a loaf is better than no bread, cereal costs have eased a touch with UK feed wheat quoted on the futures market for July delivery at £207/t compared with £212/t a week earlier.

Longer months saw September wheat quoted at £175/t and spot ex farm feed UK wheat has eased by around £3/t and averaged £194.9/t this week.

Barley stocks remain scarce with the result that June futures prices for UK barley have been as high as £191/t – however August looks better value at £160/t.

Protein values are slightly firmer with July – October Hipro soya deals agreed at £358/t compared with £356/t seven days ago. Hipro soya is also reflecting higher trends with November – April 2022 at £365/t, which represents a rise of £4/t over the past week.

With harvest not too far away and reports of generally better growing condition across Northern Europe, there could be some further downward pressure on cereal prices to the benefit of pig producers, who need all the help they can get at present.

And finally, producers have every reason to feel nervous about calls from the EU Parliament to pave the way for a ban on the use of farrowing crates and with a suggested timetable tied to a transition period which could expire as early as 2027, which has been referred to as a mad idea.

The NPA have indicated that a more realistic period would be in the region of 30 years!

With an estimated 50% of UK pigs produced in confinement systems as opposed to outdoors, no details have yet been released on how producers might be compensated for the loss of sow farrowing crates, which have a very high initial cost and no alternative use value.

The NPA have pointed out that the UK does not need a ban and voluntary agreements would be far more realistic and less destructive.

These proposals could also have a significant effect upon the value of indoor pig units, many of which have been constructed on borrowed money which could make further lending to go ahead producers in this country out of the question.

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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: