Good Times, Bad Times

Mixed messages from the marketplace with finished pig values rising and the SPP up by 0.77p to 142.51p, but cull sows 6p/kg down.

Weekly contribution prices have risen by 2p – 4p/kg, with most between 138p – 140p.

Reports that weaner numbers are on the tight side are indicating that further finished pig rises are in the pipeline and if lockdown restrictions are lifted as planned, this should help to stoke up demand for pig meat from stay-at-home Brit holidaymakers who have decided not run the gauntlet of visiting Europe or beyond, as well as improvements in UK catering demand.

Very few spot bacon pigs are currently available, with most being sold on contract but any buyers short of numbers and looking for pigs would have to think in terms of a minimum price of 140p/kg and more in places.

However, cull sow prices have come under pressure due to a lethal combination of a surprise increase in German cull sow availability as well as meat processing limitations linked to the Covid situation, which is tending to reduce the flow of sow meat at a time when consumer demand is also lower than previously forecast.

As a result, UK cull sow exporters prices have been clipped by a significant 6p/kg, with most now in the 60p – 64p/kg range.

The Euro has remained almost unchanged trading on Friday worth 86.9p.

With most weaner prices linked to the SPP values are starting to improve to some extent, although finishing space is still at a premium, but 7kg RSPCA assured weaners have been traded around £36/head and 30kg weaners are worth £15 – £20/head above this, although the brighter prospects for finished pig prices in the months ahead looks significantly better than they did a few weeks ago.

Feed ingredients are expensive enough and signs of further rises in the cost of cereals and proteins are continuing to cast a shadow over an otherwise sunny day, with UK futures feed wheat traded for May at £206/t compared with £198/t a week ago and September is also tending dearer at £174/t as against £165/t this time last week.

Feed barley saw May deals done at £165/t and September at £157/t. On an ex-farm basis, UK spot feed wheat has averaged £191/t.

Protein values have eased a touch with Hipro soya worth £360/t for May – October and £366/t for November April 2022.

Rape meal is quoted at £245/t for May and £212/t for August – January 2022.

And finally, reports are circulating that exporting meat from the UK to the EU is still a challenge and little progress has been made to speed up the bureaucracy and red tape involved in the system.

At the start of the year pork exports from the UK to the EU fell by a massive 84% due to post Brexit rules, although more recently exports have recovered from this crisis situation to some extent. But they are still well short of previous trade volumes at a time when the sow market in particular needs to be able to have access to a digitised export system, rather than the rubber stamp bureaucracy hurdles imposed by HMRC which they currently have to jump.

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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: www.petercrichton.co.uk