Help!

Following the trend of sharply falling prices in Europe, the SPP took a huge downward step falling by 4.75p and now stands at 148.82p, much to producers’ dismay.

The key German pig producer price also fell another 3.2% on the week to stand at 1.20 EUR and the picture throughout much of Europe is underlining major falls in global pig meat values further afield coupled with a sharp reduction in prices and export demand from China.

Spot bacon prices continue to tumble and although regular sellers should be able to agree prices in and around 125p – 130p/kg, one off loads of bacon pigs are basically not wanted at any price due to the ongoing problem with a shortage of butchery workers drastically reducing throughputs.

UK weekly contribution prices are also continuing their downward path easing by another copper or two and are now within a wide range between 142p at the top end and 130p at the bottom, but one of the big players has stood on for the 4th week running at 135p THANK YOU!

Cull sow prices are also in retreat dropping by around another 4p/kg this week and below 25p/kg in places, not helped by a much lower Euro which traded on Friday worth 84.9p compared with 86.11p seven days ago, all of which puts further downward pressure on cull sow export values. Cull boars are virtually valueless after haulage and slaughter costs have been taken into account.

No AHDB weaner prices were available this week, but had they been they would have reflected the overall pig catastrophic price situation and with their link to the SPP, further falls are inevitable with 7kg piglets on contract worth between £35 – £37.50 per head, but spot weaners in any category are very hard to move.

With further increases in feed prices, finishers are naturally looking very closely at all their margins which unfortunately means further weaner price reductions are in the pipeline on a “sink or swim” basis, but it all depends on how long producers can continue before they drown in this financial calamity.

UK feed wheat traded at £204/t for November delivery and £189/t for September 2022. Spot feed wheat prices on an ex farm basis averaged £192/t compared with £177/t a year ago. Feed barley futures saw deals agreed at £191/t for November and £177/t for September 2022.Protein prices have also risen a shade in places with Hipro soya at £369/t for November delivery and May-October 2022 at a more reasonable £325/t. Rapemeal values are reported to be in the £278/t region for November – January 2022.

And finally, reports of a mixture of fury and dismay as pig producers have discovered that the recent overweight pig slaughter arrangements put in place by some abattoirs have resulted in the prices paid to producers as low as 70p/kg in some cases being included in the SPP calculation.

According to AHDB sources, the RPA (Rural Payments Agency) have insisted that the “emergency” overweight pig pricing arrangements should form part of the SPP calculation, whereas the producers’ response is that this was an emergency cull rather than a routine pig price and applied to a much heavier overall weight, in some cases as high as 120kg on a flat rate grade, which is not included in the normal SPP price calculation. As it says on the bottle, the SPP is the Standard Pig Price.

The slaughtering industry also made it clear that price reporting is a legal requirement which they have to comply with or meet the threat of legal action from the RPA.

In many cases on the basis of something is better than nothing, producers with heavy pigs on their hands would be well advised to see if they can use emergency slaughter abattoir arrangements to ease the financial burden on their business, rather than keep feeding pigs to higher and higher weights with little hope of Government intervention.

At least there are some indications from the NPA that the plight of the pig industry is finally receiving more attention from the Cabinet Office than previously, but there still seems to be a strong reluctance for much positive action to be taken by the Government or our Prime Minister to alleviate the catastrophic welfare, financial and mental health problems which are facing the whole pig industry and it could well be a case of too little too late…..we shall see!

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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