Getting Better

More of a stand on feeling in the air than a week ago and, although the SPP only put on a modest 0.04p, at least it is heading in the right direction and now stands at 164.34p.

Weekly contribution prices have generally remained at their previous levels, where they have been since early December, between 155p – 163p.

Although the spot market remains a very small part of the pig supply chain, some buyers have been looking to top up their numbers with spot pigs and quotes were reported to be either side of 170p/kg, although most pigs have remained on contract with UK pig supplies still on the tight side.

Cull sow prices have also appeared to have levelled out after several weeks of sharp falls which has seen prices collapse from 125p/kg in March to 65p – 70p/kg mark today, despite a firmer Euro which traded on Friday worth 89.53p.

Although the latest AHDB ex farm weaner averages have both dropped, with 30kg piglets down by £1.31 to £57.83/head and 7kg piglets losing 0.83p to stand at £41.81/head, buyers will soon need to fill empty pens following reports of lower numbers of piglets being weaned in the past month or so.

Feed prices have tended to harden with UK futures markets trading feed wheat for June delivery at £163/t and September at £173/t.

Barley prices have also improved, especially for longer months, with June quoted at £138/t and September barley at £141/t.

Proteins on the other hand have tended to ease back slightly, with Hipro soya meal worth £308/t for June trades and the same price for November – April 2021.

UK harvest time yield estimates are not looking particularly good with near drought conditions in many parts of the eastern side of the country following on from the Monsoon winter, all of which could put some upward pressure on pig feed prices and straw looks to be a scarce commodity as well putting outdoor pig keepers under pressure to find enough good quality straw this harvest.

Russian estimates of their 2020 grain crop have been reduced to 120 million tonnes, which was previously estimated at 125 million tonnes, and going further west there are reports of a poor outlook for wheat production in the mid-west of the US.

And finally, better news that scientists from the Pirbight Institute look to be close to developing a vaccine for African Swine Fever, which has been the scourge of Asia and other eastern countries and closer to home parts of eastern Europe and the EU recently.

Although anything that can help to keep this killer ASF disease at bay is to be welcomed, if this vaccine is successful it and is used in many of the areas where pig production has been badly affected or wiped out, this could put more pigs on the ground and affect some opportunities to export pig meat to China and the Far East.

Just a pity that a successful vaccine has yet to be found to cope with the Coronavirus pandemic which has caused so much human misery.

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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: