The SPP continues to power ahead albeit at a slightly slower rate than previously and has put on another 0.73p to stand at 207.13p.
EU prices are however tending to pause for breath with the German producer price standing on at 2.28 EUR, but as in the UK pig numbers remain very tight, however ‘less is more’ (less pigs = more money).
UK weekly contribution prices are firmer in places with some outlets putting up their prices with one of the major players adding 3p this week to stand at 207p/kg.
Spot bacon pigs are as rare as hens teeth and as a result it is difficult to find price comparisons, but buyers will probably have to think in terms of paying 215p – 220p/kg.
Cull sow prices are firm around 115p and 119p/kg, despite the value of the Euro dipping from 89.20p a week ago to 88p today.
However, cull sow numbers continue to dwindle on this side of the Channel and the same picture applies over the water, which means that further price rises for culls may well be on the cards.
Very few spot weaners were available with most on contract and prices continue to improve with contract RSPCA Assured 7kg piglets selling in and around £57/head. 30kg spot weaners have in some cases been sold in excess of £80/head, which is quite a turnaround when compared with the situation twelve months earlier when it was hard to give them away!
Feed Market Trends
Despite the ongoing Ukraine conflict, grain prices have tended to ease with the UK spot feed wheat weekly average slipping back from £232/t to £224/t ex farm. This trend was also reflected in feed wheat for April delivery which traded at £232/t compared with £235/t a week earlier. Feed barley prices have also fallen in sympathy with March quoted at £215/t.
Proteins however remain expensive with Hipro soya for April delivery at £558/t and £512/t for June – October. Rapemeal remains bullish with March – April at £356/t but longer months have eased a touch with August – October deliveries valued at £301/t.
Further evidence has recently underlined massive falls in the size of the UK pig herd with the latest DEFRA census figures for December 2022 indicating a 20% annual decrease in the size of the female breeding herd and an even greater decline in the number of in pig gilts, which are down by over 30%.
However, net margin figures produced by the AHDB are indicating that in the last quarter of 2022 producers were still losing in the region of £17 per finished pig sold, but since then hopefully the ongoing recovery will help to close the gap between costs and returns.
Difficult times are ahead for abattoirs trying to maintain throughputs from a dwindling supply, which is having the effect of putting up their fixed costs with some resorting to a four day week, which will do nothing to help their overall profitability levels.
There will no doubt be further changes in the year ahead with the whole pig meat supply chain suffering from a growing and severe shortage of stock.