Do they know it’s Christmas?

Thoughts of a certain Mr Scrooge often come to mind over the Christmas period and he certainly seems to be very much in evidence as far as the UK pig industry is currently concerned.

Although the latest SPP hardly moved and only fell by a gnat’s whisker of 0.05p to 143.52p and German mainland producer prices also held at similar levels around €1.36 (the equivalent of around 120p/kg in our money) demand for UK pigs continues to come under downward pressure.

Weekly contribution prices are still heading south with falls of between 1p – 2p/kg and as a result most contribution prices are now in the 129.5p – 134p/kg bracket, which is about as much use as a one legged footballer as far as producers’ margins are concerned.

The spot market remains extremely quiet with little extra demand over and above contract numbers with the leg trade reported to be weak and as a result sellers of one off loads of spot bacon pigs could be looking at prices in the 135p/kg region where there is space.

The cull sow market has remained at similar levels despite the Euro trading at 89.16p compared with 88.45p a week ago and UK export abattoir prices have tended to remain within the 60p-64p/kg range.

Although the latest AHDB 7kg weaner average has moved up £2.85 per head to £38.16/head, once again no weekly average price has been published for 30kg weaners, but these are reported to be under pressure especially as far Red Tractor pigs are concerned with, in some cases, Red Tractor 30kg weaners being worth less than RSPCA Assured 7kg piglets!

As far as feed costs are concerned, the futures markets are showing prices at similar levels on the week with January 2019 London feed wheat quoted at £168.75/t, March at £171.10/t and November at more attractive £157.55/t.

UK protein prices have remained at stand on levels with 48% soya meal ex Liverpool traded at £320/t and 34% rape meal ex Kent at £213/t.

Looking further afield with the southern hemisphere wheat harvest underway, reports are indicating wheat production yields generally ahead of last year and bumper maize crops have also helped to put something of a lid on prices, although Brexit will continue to hog the headlines and possibly hold the answer to domestic and European cereal prices and if the war of words between Russia and the Ukraine continues this could put upward pressure on prices.

And finally, news that the AHDB have mounted new pork campaigns to stimulate demand for promoted cuts where sales have increased by 16.5% will come as music to the ears of hard pressed producers at a time when global pigmeat prices are falling and hopefully this promotion will continue with more UK pork marketing sorely needed to stimulate demand.

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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: